China at War

An Encyclopedia

by Xiaobing Li, Editor


China has played an increasingly important role on the international stage in recent years. It is now well on its way to becoming a world superpower and a military juggernaut. Understanding the Chinese perspective on war, military strategy, and national security is now of critical importance—and examining China's extensive military history can provide great insight into what the future may bring.

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Cover image for China at War

January 2012


Pages 605
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Military History/Conflict and Wars

This comprehensive volume traces the Chinese military and its experiences over the past 2,500 years, describing clashes with other kingdoms and nations as well as internal rebellions and revolutions.

As the first book of its kind, China at War: An Encyclopedia expands far beyond the conventional military history book that is focused on describing key wars, battles, military leaders, and influential events. Author Xiaobing Li—an expert writer in the subjects of Asian history and military affairs—provides not only a broad, chronological account of China's long military history, but also addresses Chinese values, concepts, and attitudes regarding war. As a result, readers can better understand the wider sociopolitical history of the most populous and one of the largest countries in the world—and grasp the complex security concerns and strategic calculations often behind China's decision-making process.

This encyclopedia contains an introductory essay written to place the reference entries within a larger contextual framework, allowing students to compare Chinese with Western and American views and approaches to war. Topics among the hundreds of entries by experts in the field include Sunzi's classic The Art of War, Mao Zedong's guerrilla warfare in the 20th century, Chinese involvement in the Korean War and Vietnam War, and China's nuclear program in the 21st century.


  • Approximately 300 A–Z entries covering China's military tradition over the past 2,500 years
  • Contributions from over 50 distinguished international scholars from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Great Britain, Canada, and the United States
  • Maps of China and Asia, depicting provinces and major cities, major battles and campaigns, and disputed borders
  • Photographs of military leaders, soldiers, weapon systems, and battle grounds
  • Selected multicultural bibliography of research materials from the field of military history, both in English and in Chinese
  • A helpful appendix of Chinese dynasties


  • Provides broad coverage of 2,500 years of Chinese military history, offering material with contemporary relevance consolidated in one convenient volume
  • Expands beyond the military perspective to describe the overall Chinese civilization, addressing a variety of political, economic, social, and foreign relations topics
  • Presents a uniquely Chinese perspective through cross-cultural comparison and explorations of untold stories from "the other side," including Communist doctrine and operational tactics
Author Info

Xiaobing Li is professor and chair of the Department of History and Geography and director of the Western Pacific Institute at the University of Central Oklahoma. His published works include Greenwood's Civil Liberties in China; Voices from the Vietnam War: Stories from American, Asian, and Russian Veterans; A History of the Modern Chinese Army; Taiwan in the 21st Century; Voices from the Korean War: Personal Stories of American, Chinese, and Korean Soldiers; and Mao's Generals Remember Korea.



"Reasonably priced, this one-volume reference work is a welcome addition to the history of warfare and China."ARBA

"Overall, this is a strong reference tool for students new to modern Chinese military history. Recommended."Choice

"Specialists will find useful data collected here." Library Journal

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