'The Civilization of China' by Herbert Allen Giles

The book The Civilization of China by the noted Sinologist is available for free on the internet on a variety of web-sites. I have found this site easy to peruse.

Even though it is somewhat centred on the Qīng era, this book is a very recommended read for gamemasters and players of The Celestial Empire.

From the Preface:
The aim of this work is to suggest a rough outline of Chinese civilisation from the earliest times down to the present period of rapid and startling transition.
It has been written, primarily, for readers who know little or nothing of China, in the hope that it may succeed in alluring them to a wider and more methodical survey.
H.A. Giles
Cambridge, 12 May 1911

Table of Contents:
1 — The Feudal Age
2 — Law and Government
3 — Religion and Superstition
4 — A.D. 220-1200
5 — Women and Children
6 — Literature and Education
7 — Philosophy and Sport
8 — Recreation
9 — The Mongols, 1260-1368
10 — Mings and Ch'ings, 1368-1911
11 — Chinese and Foreigners
12 — The Outlook

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