Wednesday, March 28, 2012

COMING SOON: Warriors and Wailers: One Hundred Ancient Chinese Jobs You Might Have Relished or Reviled by Sarah Tsiang


Warriors and Wailers: One Hundred Ancient Chinese Jobs You Might Have Relished or Reviled
By Sarah Tsiang
Published by Annick Press, February 2012
96 pages (paperback)

Ever thought of becoming an emperor? How about a silk maker?

China was one of the most advanced societies in the ancient world. Whether in medicine, the arts, or education, the Chinese far outpaced the Europeans. Although most people were peasants, society included a myriad of other jobs.

It may sound like a great position, but being emperor had its downside. If you displeased the gods, you could be put to death. As a silk maker, you would be sworn to secrecy so foreigners wouldn't learn how to spin the precious thread. Other jobs included wailer (yes, you'll cry whether you want to or not), noodle maker (noodles were not only delicious, but also a symbol of long life), or Shaolin warrior monk (if you were really good, you could break stone slabs with your fists).

A fact-filled introduction, index, and timeline make this book-the sixth in the series-perfect for research projects, while the humorous illustrations keep it fun.
(from NetGalley)

This is a great book for those who want cool facts about ancient life or for those interested in long-ago China. A lot of times books on ancient cultures are weighed down with text and terms youth don’t understand. Warriors and Wailers is accessible for middle schoolers with fun illustrations and details you won’t find in most textbooks. I did find the book a bit too detailed and wordy in some places, but since Warriors and Wailers had well organized and labeled sections, I was able to skip around and read parts that interested me at the moment and then go back and read what I had glossed over.
I would have to say that my favorite section of the book was about academic jobs. Holy cow… getting an education way back then was tough! Starting at a young age students had to memorize a ridiculous amount of text and had heaps of tests. Compared to Ancient China, our state tests seem like child’s play.
Overall I found this to be a very engaging book about Ancient China and a lot more appealing than most books I have seen about the topic. I would definitely recommend this as a resource for those learning about Ancient China or just interested on the topic.

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