Reading my Columbia University essays
Cassandra Hsiao’s Essay on the Uniqueness of China is a thorough and well-researched account of China’s rise, from ancient times to modern times. This work of history has a strong and clear sense of place and time, being an examination of China’s evolution, from its origins in the Neolithic age through to the current day.
The author’s interest is in China’s past, but she also brings us into its future, in both the present and the future. Hsiao’s first chapter is about the development of Chinese civilization. From early Chinese settlement in the south-east down to the present day, this chapter provides a fascinating insight into what was there before, and what has evolved in the succeeding chapters.
The third chapter is about the evolution of the Chinese economy, from the Neolithic Age to the present day. The fourth section of the essay looks at Chinese culture, looking at its rich past, present, and future.
The fifth chapter is a look at contemporary China, with particular reference to the present economic climate and its effects on China. The sixth chapter, relating to politics, examines the influence of China’s rulers on society. The last chapter of the Essay on the Uniqueness of China is about the effects of Chinese culture on its people.
As you would expect, there are several points covered here. But what makes this essay so interesting is that it also covers other aspects of China, as well as other cultures and civilizations. For example, Hsiao discusses the impact that Western culture has had on the Chinese, but how the author’s cultural heritage has influenced her work is quite remarkable.
As with many works of history, the book of the Essay on the Uniqueness of China by Cassandra Hsiao is not without its critics. Some readers have criticized Hsiao for her bias towards China, while others say that the book is a well-researched, well-written, and well-researched book.
Nevertheless, the overall view of Cassandra Hsiao’s Essay on the Uniqueness of China is quite positive. Whilst some of the criticisms might seem valid, overall the book is an impressive study of the history of China, one which provides much insight into the present and the future of the country.
Overall, this is a well-researched and informative book that provides the reader with an insight into the history and culture of the country, from the past to the present day. This is a comprehensive, thorough book, but it does not read like a textbook – it is more of an academic textbook, rather than a regular book in which you can just pick up and read a few pages and get an overview.
The chapters are structured chronologically, and each chapter of the Essay on the Uniqueness of China by Cassandra Hsiao provides a broad overview of various aspects of Chinese culture. The introduction focuses on Chinese history, while the first two chapters focus on Chinese political systems, as well as on social structures. Chapter four looks at Chinese medicine and the final two chapters cover different aspects of Chinese history, such as religion and art.
The chapters are not written linearly, so you will find gaps in between each chapter as you go along through the work, but this is okay. because you can read the book and go back and read sections you missed or re-read sections you may have missed out. which you did not understand fully at the time you read it. I found it very helpful in the sense that I could skip chapters and go straight back to the part where I felt I had understood something, then read that part again.
One aspect of the book that impressed me was Hsiao’s observation that many westerners are unaware of the true nature of the Chinese language. In particular, she describes Chinese as being different in terms of pronunciation. Many people are shocked when they learn Chinese – I was even more surprised when I learned Chinese and could communicate with my Chinese friends better!
The Chinese language itself is very unique in terms of pronunciation and vocabulary, with many variations being used – some are extremely difficult to decipher! That said, Hsiao has managed to illustrate the differences between the dialects and make them easy to grasp.