New biography of Cao Cao

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Re: New biography of Cao Cao

Unread postby plunged » Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:19 pm

Just wondering about Rafe's theory that Yuan Shao was actually at a disadvantage in 200, would that still make him a leader who lacks decision? Or one who lacked control?

I don't have this book myself.. this question is based on what Rafe said in his interview with medievalists.net
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Re: New biography of Cao Cao

Unread postby Elitemsh » Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:50 pm

I just read that interview and one thing i really don't understand at all is Rafe de Crespigny's feelings towards Liu Bei. He said he never cared for Liu Bei because of Bei's lies to justify his many betrayals. Where is the logic in this? Every successful leader told lies and was involved heavily in double dealing and it's not just the leaders. Lies and deceit are an intergal part of warfare. There are many examples of Cao Cao's and Sun Quan's deceit. What makes Liu Bei any worse?

Example :during the Jing conflict, Lu Xun pretended as if Wu was in support of Guan Yu when in reality they making plans to kill him. How is that not double dealing? How can one dislike Liu Bei for this and ignore the constant deceitful actions of the other leaders and generals. Rafe de Crespigny emphasises Liu Bei's hypocrisy and lies in his GOS work but i see no evidence to suggest that Wu were any less deceitful. Their plan to capture Jing province was based on lies.

His comment on Liu Bei is as bad as me saying that i don't care for Cao Cao because he killed so many civilians in cold blood. It seems so one dimensional a view especially coming from a historian who has produced such great work.
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Re: New biography of Cao Cao

Unread postby plunged » Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:29 pm

Might be a simple case of adding reasons to an opinion while the basic reason is that he 'just' doesn't like him.
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Re: New biography of Cao Cao

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:43 am

I more noticed his constant saying that Zhuge Liang as overatted in the book then his Liu Bei feelings. It may be that Professor Rafe is as much influence by the "Zhuge Liang is awesome wizard, Liu Bei is a saint" culture that he turns against them. Just as long as it doesn't effect his work
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Re: New biography of Cao Cao

Unread postby Elitemsh » Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:07 am

It's the mistake that so many seem to make nowadays. Certain characters are exagerrated in usually one area and many end up disliking these people when they find out the truth without acknowledging that in some ways the characters were actually better historically. For example, Liu Bei's personality may have positively exagerrated in the novel but his military skill was much better historically. A lot of his victories were credited to Zhuge LIang in novel. I admit that Zhuge Liang and Guan Yu were only positively exagerrated in the novel. No parts of them were better historically. Still this exagerration leads so many to underestimate these characters.

Zhuge Liang was still an impressive talent and yes while he was overrated in the novel considerably, he is still worthy of plenty of respect. He achieved a lot within his lifespan and he worked himself to death. I think that Zhuge Liang was a competent general as well. If you look at his northern campaigns, he always protected his retreat so well by planning ambushes. He was definitely not without ability as a commander. I hope that Rafe gives Zhuge Liang at least some credit.
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Re: New biography of Cao Cao

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:37 am

Professor Rafe does give credit where it is due to Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang, he just doesn't seem to like them.
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Re: New biography of Cao Cao

Unread postby Lord Oda Nobunaga » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:32 pm

Sorry to necro this thread but I found this book on Amazon and Brill. I'm really curious as to what this book is and I wanted to ask someone here you might have read the book about it.

So what is in this book that sets it apart from other books on the subject? I have read a few of Rafe de Crespigny's books (such as Generals of the South and the Biographical Dictionary, but I have not read others like To Establish Peace, Later Han Military Organization or The Northern Frontier) but how does this book compare to the ones I have not read?

Are there any new theories that Rafe de Crespigny puts forward? (I know he says that Yuan Shao might not have outnumbered Cao Cao)

Or any other information that he has that I couldn't find in Shen Zhou's work or another English work like in one of his books? (so I assume most of the information in his book comes from Sanguozhi, where else does he get info? How about his quoting Cao Cao, where does he get these from, Sanguozhi perhaps?)
I personally do not read Chinese which is why I asked about English books.

I'm only asking because this book is highly expensive and I don't want to invest so much money in something where I could just as easily find the information somewhere else for much cheaper.
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Re: New biography of Cao Cao

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Dec 12, 2014 1:24 pm

Your right to necro the thread.

I probably wouldn't advise paying for it given the high price if money is an issue as I don't recall that much new. It's well written and well done but it isn't a ground-breaking text that, other then Guan Du, pushes changes to way I thought about things.
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Re: New biography of Cao Cao

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri Dec 12, 2014 1:32 pm

I would recommend Karl Leban's dissertation on Cao Cao if your on a budget. It's older but very solid scholarship.
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Re: New biography of Cao Cao

Unread postby Lord Oda Nobunaga » Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:36 pm

Thank you for your suggestions guys.
I wasn't really planning on getting the Cao Cao book any time soon. But I might not get it at all. In fact the other Rafe de Crespigny books seem much more worth while. I am however extremely curious as to how Rafe thinks or what he wrote in the Imperial Warlord. But it does not sound essential because most people can just read Sanguozhi (or find the other good stuff posted on this site).

As for the Carl Leban book I don't even know where to get that, what I mean to say is that I didn't see it on Amazon. A much shorter timespan than I would like but if the price is right why not.
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