Related Subjects: Author Index Reviews Page 1 2
Book reviews for "Murphey,_Rhoads" sorted by average review score:

Ottoman Warfare 1500-1700
Published in Paperback by Rutgers University Press (1999)
Author: Rhoads Murphey
Amazon base price: $28.00
Average review score:

Remarkable masterpiece
Murphey should get an astounding applause for his work. There is an incredible appeal that 'drains' you right into the pages of endless original arguments. The Ottoman Devlet (not Empire if you read the book carefully, I borrowed Maksudoglu terms for the Ottoman) finally received a fair judgement for their history. The research was acurately done with rare details, those which never surfaced before, which cleared out any pontless subjectivity mostly found on previous studies of the Ottomans. 'The sick man' was made 'sick' in the first place.

The rationalization of the Ottoman military might was the best part in the book. I am not surprised if this work becomes a classic.

Best study of Ottoman warfare in print
Rhoads Murphey clears up a lot of mystification brought into the subject by authors who previously relied solely upon Western sources for understanding the Ottoman state. Some, for example, would talk about the Ottoman Empire as the perfect military state, designed around conquest, and others, thinking more of Ottoman decline, of the corruption, inefficiency, and lack of technical skill of their forces. Yet, a study of Ottoman history reveals, naturally, that neither of these extremes were true, and that the Ottomans had to contend with many of the same difficulties, military and administrative, that all of the western European states were attempting to overcome. For someone who really wants to learn how the Ottomans achieved what the did, and failed to achieve some of their more ambitious goals, this book is refreshing in that it teaches rather than obscures.

East Asia: A New History
Published in Paperback by Longman (2000)
Author: Rhoads Murphey
Amazon base price: $43.75
Average review score:

A very strong textbook for Asian surveys
I found this book in 1997 after desperately searching for something to replace Shirokauer's creaky _Modern China and Japan_. I have used it for several Modern East Asia courses and am presently using it for a Traditional East Asia survey, and I find that students of all levels of knowledge appreciate it. It does have a few shortcomings, as I feel would be the case for any textbook on Asia, as the topic is so expansive and many situations are downright confusing. However, it gives a good balance of political to social history, has extremely useful maps and insets, and the writing is consistently good. I would also recommend it for the casual reader who wants to get a decent background on Asian culture.



An excellent primer on Asia by a humanist scholar and writer
Rhoads Murphey's East Asia: A New History covers everything a lay person needs and wants to know about this complex region and culture. This book is a fascinating and easy-to-read summary of Dr. Murphey's 60-year-long living and teaching experience in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and other Asian countries. It is an excellent introduction to Asia not just as a textbook but a very useful primer for corporate executives, professionals and even tourists. I've read this book and its various editions ever since 1973 when I first studied with Professor Murphey as a graduate student. Readers will get from this book not just the facts, images, philosophy and poetry of East Asia. You will see the humanity of a great teacher, scholar, writer and romantic who knows how to make Americans understand and appreciate our fellow men and women of this important part of the world. The book never fails to make me smile and re-discover the many simple truths about cultures that we so easily forget.

Civilizations of the West: The Human Adventure
Published in Hardcover by Harpercollins College Div (1992)
Authors: Richard L. Greaves, Robert Zaller, Jennifer Tolbert Roberts, and Rhoads Murphey
Amazon base price: $82.00
Used price: $14.75
Buy one from zShops for: $25.00
Average review score:

Could be Better
This book was assigned in my history course last semester. I wish it were more lively and that it made its points better.

An Excellent History textbook
(...)compared to many other college History texts, this one triumphs....)

I'll say this at least: It is no accident that the local university has stocked up on Greave's CIVILIZATIONS OF THE WEST. This is an outstanding volume in terms of breadth of information, coverage of social and cultural life, illustrations and organization of material. A distinguishing feature of the volume, adding to the aesthetically pleasing layout and quality of information, are inset boxes. With literary excerpts and writings from intellectuals and ordinary people of the times these boxes add vividness and immediacy to History studies, bringing one a little closer to people and events. Overall, this is an excellent book, to be used in conjunction with J.M.G ROBERTS, TRIUMPH OF THE WEST (or, HISTORY OF THE WORLD, by the same author, published by Penguin books).

A History of Asia
Published in Hardcover by HarperCollins Publishers (1992)
Author: Rhoads Murphey
Amazon base price: $38.43
Used price: $5.00
Collectible price: $15.25
Average review score:

Bias not based on simple ignorance
While it is understandable that every histrical account, treatise or even research based on available historical data tends to get subjective, it is hardly an excuse when blatant personal biases come through in a text book written by a so called scholar.
Murphey's version of "A History of Asia" is the text book assigned for my otherwise wonderful Asian Studies class.
Let me quote some examples from the sixth edition:(pp110 para 6) "Plunder and slaughter in the name of God did not make a good impression for Islam on most Indians, but the austere new religion with its offer of certanity and equality of all did apeal to some, as wherever it spread to other countries." So what is the author saying?? He is talking about Mahmud of Ghazni whose "remote mountain ringed capital became a great center of Islamic Culture, thanks in part to stolen Indian riches." So, is he saying that Islam brought equality and justice to India, or is he saying that Islam brought plunder and brutalty to the region, or is it his own bias showing through?
It is also interesting to note that when finding a passage to quote from the Quran, as opposed to the ones he picks to quote from other scriptures, he chooses the now fashionable-to-quote: "Fight in the name of God against those who fight against you, but do not commit aggression..." is this all that Islam represents to the learned professor that he wants to pass on to his audience? Did he care to mention the context in which those verses were said and written? Did he know that that the first thirteen years of Islam, Muslims were forbidden to fight back even in the face of violent persecution, the kind known only to the Arabian desert of 1500 years ago?
Lets move on... When talking about the most important event of Islam, the Hijrah (pp 36) or the migration of the Prophet from Makkah to Madinah, Murphey says: "When preaching against these evils attracted few supporters, he (Mohammad) moved to Medina..." Really?? was that the reason for the Hijira? In actuality, the persecution of Muslims had increased to the level where they were being systematically killed by Arab pagans and Muhammad himself was the target of assasination attempts, it is in the light of those events that Muslims belive he was ordered to migrate to Medina by God. Murphey futher goes on to say that the the migration is used to mark the first year of the Muslim era, known as the "year of the prophet" Please!! It is known as "Hijri" or the "year of the migration."
Further references to Islam are too blatantly biased to pass of as mere ignorance "or not one of Dr. Murpheys area of expertise" as some would like to discount.

Let me quote here for example: "Women have an explicitly inferior status, can be set aside at will by their husbands, must cover their bodies (my comment: the favorite of those who cannot tolerate seeing women in anything but bikinis, of course), and face outside their own domestic quarters (to which they are largely confined), and are subject to their fathers, brothers, and husbands in all things. The Koran also sanctions holy war (jihad)....." and it goes on. Which culture is Murphey trying to describe here? some backward desert tribe in a so-called Islamic state or that prescribed by Islam itself? I would definitely be interested in knowing the sources he has used to arrive at these statements. By the way, the word "Jihad" does not translate to "Holy War", in fact, there is no word or phrase in the Arabic language that translates to this remnant phrase from the Crusades. "Jihad" merely means "Struggle"

The fact is that in a society that practiced female infanticide and left hundreds of women widowed and cast out from being respectable members of the society due to tribal wars that waged for years, Islam brought rights and respect to women. It allowed the widowed women to be married respectably rather than be abused mistresses to already married men, it allowed women to vote and to make important decisions in the community, it dispelled the practice of depriving women of the right of posessing property, and the limitation of their right of transaction, it cancelled the practice of husbands despotism in the property of their wives, in short, among many other social and individual benefits, Islam guaranteed rights to to women fifteen hundred years ago that modern western civilizations had not been able to guarantee till a few decades ago.

I would give this book a zero star if the option existed. How can I read the rest of the book without knowing that it is not tainted with the authors biases, ignorance and prejudice. Not knowing if this so called account of Asian History is accurate, I would refrain from recommending it as a text book.

It's a Textbook
Let's not forget this fact: this is a college textbook. If you're looking for something that will be interesting reading or will keep you entertained when the television is off, you don't want this book. You will be overwhelmed by rafts of facts and will not be able to digest it all. Find another book.

That said, this book is very good if you're interested in a thorough, exhaustive history of Asia. Murphey focusses on themes and meaning rather than lists of names and dates. Memorisation and quotation of established facts are not the order of the day. Probably an ideal introductory history of Monsoon Asia, this book makes a good gateway to further in-depth study of the area.

That said, it's not a perfect book. Some broad claims are made about the region, such as the claim that Asian societies are older and possess greater sophistication. This is inaccurate -- after all, Egyptian civilization is two thousand years older, and the Fertile Crescent civilization is one thousand years older, than the civilizations of China and the Indus River valley. True, China was at one time the most powerful and sophisticated on Earth, but it is no longer, because it placed greater value on social stability than on development and growth. These claims are surely brash and possibly offensive to those who have struggled to make other civilizations advance beyond a crude level.

Barring that sort of thing, however, this book is a good scholastic introduction to the history of Monsoon Asia. It will bore casual readers, keep that in mind. However, if you are interested in an in-depth study of the themes that continue to color Asia, this is your book.

Well organized and interesting
I'm using this textbook for an asian studies class I'm taking. I find this book to be very well organized and informative and interesting. As a matter of fact, I've already finished the book even though only one quarter of the term has passed. The only problem I have with this book is that the author comments on the history a little too much instead of allowing the readers to make their own judgment. For example, he makes an outrageous suggestion that South Koreans would have been better off if the Korean War had not been fought after North Korea invaded. In addition, the author doesn't often present a balanced view on Asian history. He forcefully condemns western colonialism (fair enough), but then never criticizes, for example, China for being imperialistic towards its neighbors. He often criticizes westerners for being "arrogant," but rarely criticizes Chinese for being arrogant, and they did have a very arrogant attitude towards "outsiders" throughout their history, including all their Asian neighbors. He says, "It should be remembered, however, that Korea has the same geographic size and population, with a far older, more sophisticated culture. . . " Really? Older and more sophisticated than Greece, Italy, France, etc.? What is he basing his information on? "Equally old and sophisticated culture. . ." would be a much more accurate assessment. Still, this book is interesting and I recommend it.

Civilizations of the World, Single Volume Edition: The Human Adventure (3rd Edition)
Published in Hardcover by Longman (09 January, 1997)
Authors: Richard L. Greaves, Philip V. Cannistraro, Robert Zaller, and Rhoads Murphey
Amazon base price: $101.33
Used price: $0.99
Buy one from zShops for: $76.00
Average review score:

Dry Dry and More dry
I had this history book the first semester of my freshman year in college and let me tell you, it is a very dry book. There is a lot of unnecessary information and all the little details make it even worse. Also, some of the information is dusty while some of the points the author points out are very arguable and seem untrue. Once again, this is a very dry book.

very readable
For teachers and amateur historians, this is a very readable text. Plus, the layout is nice and easy to look at. It also offers a reasonably good bibliography as well as chapter summaries. All in all it is user-friendly

China (In the Global Community Series)
Published in Hardcover by Gateway Pr (1988)
Author: Rhoads Murphey
Amazon base price: $16.95
Average review score:
No reviews found.

The Fading of the Maoist Vision: City and Country in China's Development
Published in Hardcover by Routledge Kegan & Paul (1980)
Author: Rhoads Murphey
Amazon base price: $14.95
Used price: $3.95
Collectible price: $15.88
Average review score:
No reviews found.

Fifty Years of China to Me: Personal Recollections of 1942-1992 (Monograph and Occasional Papers Series / the Association for Asian Studies)
Published in Paperback by Assn for Asian Studies (1994)
Author: Rhoads Murphey
Amazon base price: $10.00
Average review score:
No reviews found.

The Little Book of Gardening
Published in Paperback by Proctor Pubns (15 May, 2001)
Author: Rhoads Murphey
Amazon base price: $12.95
Average review score:
No reviews found.

The Outsiders: The Western Experience in India and China (Michigan Studies on China)
Published in Textbook Binding by University of Michigan Press (1977)
Author: Rhoads Murphey
Amazon base price: $19.95
Used price: $21.18
Collectible price: $18.00
Average review score:
No reviews found.

Related Subjects: Author Index Reviews Page 1 2

Reviews are from readers at To add a review, follow the Amazon buy link above.