Unifier or destroyer, law-maker or tyrant? The First Emperor of China (258-210 BC) has been the subject of debate for over 2,000 years. Frances Wood examines the evidence and reveals the true nature of the man who had himself buried with an army of 7,000 life-size terracotta warriors.
The First Emperor gave us the name by which China is known in the West and, by his unification or elimination of six states, created imperial China. He stressed the rule of law but suppressed all opposition, burning books and burying scholars alive. His military achievements are reflected in the'buried armies'that surround his tomb, and his Great Wall still fascinates the world. Despite his achievements, however, he has been vilified since his death. This book describes his life and times and reflects the historical arguments over the real founder of China and one of the most important men in Chinese history.
Frances Wood is Head of the Chinese Department at the British Library. She is also the author of, among other books, Did Marco Polo Go to China?, No Dogs and Not Many Chinese: A History of the Treaty Portsand The Silk Road.
'Wood's book is [an] introduction to a ruler who has been hailed both as his country's founding father and vilified as a ruthless tyrant.', Sunday Times
'Frances Wood presents a different portrait of The First Emperor of China, offering good reasons why myths of cruelty and megalomania should not be entirely believed.', Metro
'Wry, concise and authoritative.', Times Literary Supplement