Print ISBN: 978-1-68217-927-7
# of Pages: 374
# of Volumes: 1
Print List Price: $175
e-ISBN: 978-1-68217-966-6
eBook User Price: $175
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Defining Documents in World History: Asia

Editor: Michael Shally-Jensen, PhD
November 2018

This set takes a detailed look at significant documents developed by scholars, politicians, warriors, emperors, scientists, and reformers, from He Zhen to Mao Zedong.

Defining Documents in World History: Asia explores the history of Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, India, and Southeast Asian societies including Vietnam.

The material is into four geographic and each section begins with a brief timeline that includes important events and the documents featured in each region:

  1. China begins with the The Art of War, an important treatise military strategy that is still in wide use today and includes “Lessons for Women” by Ban Zhao, an important female intellectual writing during the Han dynasty, around 80 ce, The Boxer Protocol, the Chinese revolution of Sun Yat-sen, and concludes with U.S. Embassy Cables Concerning the Crackdown in Tiananmen Square;
  2. Japan and Korea includes such important writing as The Tale of Genji, often called the world’s first novel; The Tale of the Heike as a dramatized version of the the clash of two warrior clans at the end of the late Heian period; Fourteen-Part Message from Japan to the United States delivered to U.S. Secretary of State Hull at the same time that Japanese pilots were bombing Pearl Harbor; Korean Declaration of Independence; and Kim Il Sung’s speech, “On Eliminating Dogmatism and Formalism and Establishing Juche in Ideological Work”;
  3. India offers documents such as The Edicts of King
    Ashoka, inscribed on pillars spread across India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nepal; the India Regulating Act of 1773 that gave the British government partial control of the East India Company; and Indira Gandhi’s speech, “What Educated Women Can Do”;
  4. Southeast Asia includes Henry Cabot Lodge’s Speech on the Retention of the Philippine Islands; conversations and speeches related to the war in Viet Nam such as President Ngô Ðình Diệm’s address to the U.S. Congress and a 1969 conversation between Presidents Nixon and Thiêu; and a report from the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields.

These documents provide a compelling view of the events and policies that shaped the rise and fall of empires, societies, and nations across Asia.

Designed for high school and college students, the aim of the series is to advance the study of primary source historical documents as an important activity in learning about history.

Essay Format

Asia features fifty-two documents that span the history, politics, ethics, wars, and struggles for independence from China to Korea to Cambodia. Each document is supported by a critical essay, written by historians and teachers, that includes:

  • a Summary Overview that offers a brief introduction to the document;
  • a Defining Moment that provides important historical context;
  • an Author Biography that offers insight into the background and philosophy of the author of the primary document; and
  • Document Themes and Analysis that put the document into perspective and provide a close reading and analysis of the primary source to develop its broader themes, such as the author’s rhetorical purpose, social or class position, point of view, and other relevant issues.

Each essay also includes a Bibliography and Additional Reading section for further research.


  • Chronological List
  • Web Resources
  • Bibliography

View a Full List of Titles from the Defining Documents Series