Jonathan Spence

Jonathan Spence was a renowned British-born American historian and sinologist who specialized in Chinese history. He was known for his accessible writing style and deep understanding of Chinese civilization. His works often focused on the Ming and Qing dynasties, and he was a professor at Yale University for many years. Some of his notable books include 'The Search for Modern China' and 'The Death of Woman Wang'. Spence's contributions to the field of Chinese studies have been widely recognized and appreciated.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Gate of Heavenly Peace

    "The Gate of Heavenly Peace" is a comprehensive historical analysis of China from the 1890s through the 1980s, focusing on the intellectual and political movements that shaped the country. The book explores the complex interplay between tradition and modernity, and the often tumultuous relationship between the Chinese people and their leaders. It delves into the lives and thoughts of key figures in Chinese history, providing a nuanced understanding of the forces that have shaped China's trajectory.

  2. 2. The Death of Woman Wang MMP

    "The Death of Woman Wang MMP" is a historical narrative that vividly portrays 17th-century rural China, specifically the T'an-ch'eng county in Shantung province. The book focuses on the lives of ordinary people, their struggles, and the harsh realities they face, using the tragic story of a woman named Wang as the central narrative. It also provides a detailed account of the local judicial system and the role of the local historian, all of which are interwoven to create a comprehensive picture of the society and culture of the era.

  3. 3. The Memory Palace Of Matteo Ricci

    This historical work delves into the life of a 16th-century Italian Jesuit missionary who traveled to China with the aim of spreading Christianity. The book explores his innovative method of evangelism, which involved adapting Western memory techniques to create a "memory palace" that would resonate with the Chinese literati. By intertwining mnemonic imagery with elements of Chinese culture and belief, he sought to bridge the gap between East and West and facilitate the exchange of ideas and knowledge. The narrative not only recounts his missionary efforts but also paints a vivid picture of the cultural and intellectual landscapes of both Renaissance Europe and Ming Dynasty China.