Confessions of a researchaholic

September 11, 2011

A year of no significance

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 6:13 pm
Tags: , , , ,

1587, a Year of No Significance (Chinese: 萬曆十五年) is a book by historian Ray Huang (Chinese: 黃仁宇) which described how a sequence of seemingly insignificant events precipitated the eventual downfall of the Ming dynasty, as well as China itself. I remember getting totally fascinated by this book as a high school kid. The book is not flawless, but it is fascinating in highlighting how significant long term trends, which usually happen slowly, are often preceded by very small signs.

It is like the famous Chinese proverb, 一葉知秋: from a falling tree leaf one can know that the autumn is coming.

If future historians are going to write a similar book about the eventual downfall of the America (dynasty) as well as the entire West, the analogous year will be 2001, or probably even a specific day, September 11. Contrast to 1587, this is a year of *major* significance. But THE event is no less precipitating than those in 1587.

I am looking forward to read this book, and I hope it will be as enthralling as the one by Ray Huang.

1 Comment »

  1. I read it twice. Highly recommended! The book taught me several important lessons, for example, keeping a low key.

    Comment by Hongwei Li — September 21, 2011 @ 7:52 pm | Reply


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