4 JANUARY 1930, Page 27

Those who would understand China may be commended to Dr.

Richard Wilhelm's Short History of Chinese Civilization, admirably translated by Miss Joan Joshua, with an intro- duction by Dr. Lionel Giles (Harrap, 12s. 6d.). Dr. Wilhelm ends his survey with the fall of the Mings, in the early seven- teenth century, since European influence tt-tm began to be felt in China. But he begins in what seems to us a remote past; and he has much to say of China before "the rise of the house of Chou about 1150 B.C. brings us nearer to authentic history." Confucius wrote in the period when Athens was fighting for freedom against the Persian hordes. The national monarchy of the Han was founded a few years before Scipio defeated Hannibal at Zama. Even our own ancient kingdom seems very young compared to China, and it is thus easy to understand the Chinese contempt for the Western barbarian. Dr. Wilhelm's sympathetic account of Chinese society—. based from the earliest times on a free peasantry and a small educated elass—is well worth studying. He refers briefly to the many periods of turmoil that China has passed through, and thus encourages the hope that she will in time find her way out of the present confusion. The book is illustrated with exquisite examples of early Chinese art.