TK Era Historical Book Recommendations

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TK Era Historical Book Recommendations

Unread postby Wenruo » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:02 pm

Hello all, newbie here. I have been interested in TK period history for many years and have gotten more into it recently. I’ve played several of the games, watched the 2010 TV series a few times, and am about 2/3rds of the way through the novel. I would like to have a better understanding of what actually happened historically as I read the novel. Are there any recommendations here for a quality English-version historical resource on this period?

Also, I have a separate question on the 1994 TV series. Is that appropriate for this forum or should I pose that elsewhere?

Many thanks in advance!


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Re: TK Era Historical Book Recommendations

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:17 pm

Hey there, glad to see you taking an interest in the historical period. There's no better place to come than here.
As for historical resources Sun Fin through together a fantastic guide to online resources here: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=23535

A few members have also put together their own libraries that people can look into and ask about the books. Some range from free online papers to very expensive novels. You can find these in certain members signatures.

There are various translations projects out there as well, but the three that stand out the most to me are Xuesanguo, or alternatively on threestatesrecords.com, bookofjinand Fuyonggu which you can find all three on on tumblr.

You can also find more free work online, such as Professor Rafe de Crespigny's translation of the Jian'an period (time of Cao Cao, Yuan Shao, Liu Bei etc) called To Establish Peace vol 1 and 2. Here on this site you can also find the second part translated by Achilles Fang called Chronicles of the Three KIngdoms that covers right after Cao Cao's death to the fall of Shu. There's also the portion that covers the Establishment of Jin and onward by Taishi Ci 2.0. There are perhaps your best things to start with as it follows the timeline of events as they unfold.

People like myself, capnnerefir, Sun Fin and Dongzhou have also written comprehensive biographies and anylsis for certain historical figures using a combination of sources.

As for the 94 TV series I'd assume people would be willing to answer questions related to it here. I've seen it myself a few times.
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Re: TK Era Historical Book Recommendations

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:54 pm

I don’t have tends to add to DaoLun’s excellent post but if there is a particular aspect of 3K history that you want to know more about I’m happy to advise specific books! :)

This forum is definitely an appropriate place for questions about the series! :D
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Re: TK Era Historical Book Recommendations

Unread postby Qin Feng » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:16 am

You may look at Cambridge's history of China. Now, I haven't read the actual three kingdoms part since the first volume is about the Qin and Han dynasties, but my teacher recommended it, so it might be worth taking a look at it. I think there was an extract here somewhere that wrote about the fall of Han.
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Re: TK Era Historical Book Recommendations

Unread postby Wenruo » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:28 am

DaoLunOfShiji wrote:Hey there, glad to see you taking an interest in the historical period. There's no better place to come than here.
As for historical resources Sun Fin through together a fantastic guide to online resources here: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=23535

A few members have also put together their own libraries that people can look into and ask about the books. Some range from free online papers to very expensive novels. You can find these in certain members signatures.

There are various translations projects out there as well, but the three that stand out the most to me are Xuesanguo, or alternatively on threestatesrecords.com, bookofjinand Fuyonggu which you can find all three on on tumblr.

You can also find more free work online, such as Professor Rafe de Crespigny's translation of the Jian'an period (time of Cao Cao, Yuan Shao, Liu Bei etc) called To Establish Peace vol 1 and 2. Here on this site you can also find the second part translated by Achilles Fang called Chronicles of the Three KIngdoms that covers right after Cao Cao's death to the fall of Shu. There's also the portion that covers the Establishment of Jin and onward by Taishi Ci 2.0. There are perhaps your best things to start with as it follows the timeline of events as they unfold.

People like myself, capnnerefir, Sun Fin and Dongzhou have also written comprehensive biographies and anylsis for certain historical figures using a combination of sources.


Thank you so much for the detailed reply. I will take a look at these recommendations over the weekend, I can already tell I've come to the right place! This is a wealth of information and I want to take some time to sift through it.

DaoLunOfShiji wrote:As for the 94 TV series I'd assume people would be willing to answer questions related to it here. I've seen it myself a few times.


Thanks again. I am trying to figure out the best way to actually watch this from beginning to end. YouTube has many clips available but not entire episodes like the 2010 series. Also, the translation in the 1994 YouTube clips is not of the greatest quality, so I was wondering if there was a better version available somewhere, free or otherwise. I've looked on Amazon and Googled around but have yet to find a good place to buy or stream it.

I enjoyed the 2010 series a great deal, but I'd like to see the earlier version as well. I can tell that 1994 is much more true to the novel, and I love the live action. I also think many of the actors in the original version might be better than their latter counterparts, Kongming in particular.
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Re: TK Era Historical Book Recommendations

Unread postby Wenruo » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:35 am

Qin Feng wrote:You may look at Cambridge's history of China. Now, I haven't read the actual three kingdoms part since the first volume is about the Qin and Han dynasties, but my teacher recommended it, so it might be worth taking a look at it. I think there was an extract here somewhere that wrote about the fall of Han.


Thanks. This would be a good starting point for me, and I might look into the first volume as well. I want to better understand the entire Han era as there are so many references in the novel to historical events and heroes from earlier in the dynasty.
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Re: TK Era Historical Book Recommendations

Unread postby Wenruo » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:37 am

Sun Fin wrote:I don’t have tends to add to DaoLun’s excellent post but if there is a particular aspect of 3K history that you want to know more about I’m happy to advise specific books! :)

This forum is definitely an appropriate place for questions about the series! :D


I can tell from reading DaoLun's links that you've spent countless hours contributing here, so thank you for sharing with all of us!
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Re: TK Era Historical Book Recommendations

Unread postby Wenruo » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:55 am

Sun Fin wrote:I don’t have tends to add to DaoLun’s excellent post but if there is a particular aspect of 3K history that you want to know more about I’m happy to advise specific books! :)

This forum is definitely an appropriate place for questions about the series! :D


One aspect that I'm particularly interested in learning more about is how ordinary people of this era dealt with all the chaos. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this was the bloodiest period in human history. The novel focuses on the major heroes and villains, many of whom came from humble backgrounds, but I'd like to learn more about what daily life was like during this time.
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Re: TK Era Historical Book Recommendations

Unread postby Han » Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:51 am

Its not the bloodiest. WW1 and WW2.
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Re: TK Era Historical Book Recommendations

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:20 am

Wenruo wrote:
Qin Feng wrote:You may look at Cambridge's history of China. Now, I haven't read the actual three kingdoms part since the first volume is about the Qin and Han dynasties, but my teacher recommended it, so it might be worth taking a look at it. I think there was an extract here somewhere that wrote about the fall of Han.


Thanks. This would be a good starting point for me, and I might look into the first volume as well. I want to better understand the entire Han era as there are so many references in the novel to historical events and heroes from earlier in the dynasty.


The first volume is an outstanding source. It is the pride of my collection. The Han dynasty doesn't officially end until Cao Pi declares himself Emperor so it covers the whole of Cao Cao's life. It covers a variety of topics, stretching from political history to obscure social topics!

Sadly, the second volume has never been published. There are other books in the series and they left a gap in the volume numbering for the period of division but it is yet to be written. :(

Just to say it is on the more expensive side. I don't know what your budget is but your looking in the region of £120.

Wenruo wrote:
Sun Fin wrote:I don’t have tends to add to DaoLun’s excellent post but if there is a particular aspect of 3K history that you want to know more about I’m happy to advise specific books! :)

This forum is definitely an appropriate place for questions about the series! :D


I can tell from reading DaoLun's links that you've spent countless hours contributing here, so thank you for sharing with all of us!


My pleasure :)

Wenruo wrote:One aspect that I'm particularly interested in learning more about is how ordinary people of this era dealt with all the chaos. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this was the bloodiest period in human history. The novel focuses on the major heroes and villains, many of whom came from humble backgrounds, but I'd like to learn more about what daily life was like during this time.


Hmmm, that is a really good question. I don't know of many sources that cover the life of common people during the actual war itself. Michael Loewe has written two fantastic books on everyday life in Han China (one a standard history book, the other about a fictional, but very typical person and exploring the period from his life experiences). However they are both thinking about the period before the Yellow Turban revolt. Which is true for most social history if I'm honest. These two are very reasonably priced - we're talking under £10.

This free to access thesis thinks a bit about the common soldier, which I know isn't quite the same thing.

I suspect the book that does the best job of thinking about the common people is RDC's Imperial Warlord. Cao Cao had a major impact (both positively and negatively) on the lives of the common people and so I think he covers it while analysing him. However I don't own it so hopefully someone else who does can confirm one way or the other.

Han wrote:Its not the bloodiest. WW1 and WW2.


I'm away at the moment so don't have any books to hand so you'll have to forgive me for my lack of preciseness on this occasion.

I believe this depends on your definition of bloodiness. If you mean numbers killed directly in combat, than yes the World Wars blow this period away.

HOWEVER, if you mean the percentage of a population wiped out during a period of war than I doubt anything comes close to this 100 years. I believe that between the last census of the Han dynasty and the first of the Jin approximately 66% of the population had died. Very few of these died directly in battle but as a result of famine, plagues and massacres. Hopefully someone else might be able to provide the precise numbers.
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