De Bary constructs a magisterial overview of three thousand years of East Asian civilizations, principally in the form of dialogues among the major systems of thought that have dominated the Asian world’s historical development.
A short and hugely informative book for the layperson… Like a wise lecturer, de Bary brings the reader along to a fresh and rewarding comparison of Eastern and Western ways of thinking—and what the differences mean to us today… In the process, he has also written a succinct and valuable guide to the culture by which East Asia still lives.
The work is the personal manifesto of a scholar who is master of the broad overview and bold generalization which is the essence of profound erudition, and who knows that a properly chosen detail can highlight a given topic more boldly than a lengthy argument.
Bears the unmistakable imprint of de Bary’s erudition and bristles with provocative insights and useful comparisons…de Bary has done an excellent job.
William Theodore de Bary was John Mitchell Mason Professor of the University, Emeritus, and Provost Emeritus at Columbia University.