It has been said that the twenty-first century will be China's century. Such a remark highlights the importance of being informed about China's long and tumultuous history. J. A. G. Roberts traces the main course of that history, from the earliest times, through the centuries of imperial government, to the present day. Chapters on China's imperial history identify the main political and economic changes, whilst introducing key social themes. Turning to the modern period, Roberts then traces the dramatic events of the Opium Wars, the 1911 Revolution and the Republican era. The book ends with a detailed discussion of China under Communist rule and a wide-ranging review of new developments, including China's economic achievements and its costs. Thoroughly revised and expanded in the light of the latest research, and now featuring a helpful chronology, this up-to-date, authoritative overview of China's past is ideal for students and general readers alike.