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Head of Zeus
Heaven's Empires
Heaven's Empires: 20 Moments In Chinese History James Palmer

James Palmer's book begins with wars fought by chariots on the plains 3000 years ago and ends with the reassertion of Chinese imperial power under Xi Jinping. This is a narrative of great empires rising and falling, of astonishingly beautiful art and technological genius. China became, in some places and at some times, 'modern' a long time before the rest of the world.

Each of the chapters is a great read and each has a narrative arc and a central character. Each has strong dramatic scenes, and makes even the most horrific events explicable, if not necessarily forgivable.

But while each chapter is a story in itself, they build into and onto each other, reinforcing historical themes and calling back and forth in time.

And this isn't just a book about China, it's also a book about Mongolia and Korea and Vietnam and Kazakhstan and Tibet and England and America, because China's history is the world's history.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * History
14 Apr 2022 * 464pp * £8.99 * 9781784977061
'I devoured James Palmer's mesmerizing book on the end of Mao's reign in one sitting'
Frank Dikotter, The Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year

James Palmer

James Palmer
James Palmer was born in Manchester in 1981. He lives in Beijing. He has travelled extensively in East and Central Asia. A fluent Chinese speaker, he is an expert in comparative religion and has a deep fascination for the cultures of China, Mongolia and Tibet. His first book, The Bloody White Baron, was acclaimed by writers such as Simon Sebag Montefiore and Colin Thubron. Palmer's second book, Heaven Cracks, Earth Shakes was about the death of Mao and the great Tangshan earthquake.