This is a considerable lump of volumes, somewhat dense and drier than a tin of birds custard. It is however interesting still for all that. From the earliest known history right up to Tienanmen Square in 1989 Gernet whizzes through it all. The version I have is the Folio Society printing of the Cambridge University Press 1996 revision. There are a couple of older versions 1973, and 1982 which have less in the final chapter. The final chapter discusses the end of the Mao Tsu-tung era and the start of the combining of capitalist ideas with the communist regime which has worked so well for China. This most contemporary section is somewhat brief and I have been left with wanting to know much more about recent history – especially since the events within my lifetime (progress of Hong Kong for example) and those periods leading up to the end of the empire and into modern times, which are covered in reasonable detail (as are all the historic epochs) but for which I would like to know more.