Food and Environment in Early and Medieval China

Chung-Hao Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article reviewpeer-review


Despite these criticisms, I firmly believe that Professor Anderson—drawing on more than four decades of valuable knowledge about the history of Chinese food—has produced a ground-breaking work with insightful arguments regarding the significant relationship between food and the environment in Chinese history. I strongly recommend this work to anybody interested in Chinese food or Chinese history.However, I found that Anderson’s book relies largely on secondary English-language sources to the exclusion of important primary sources in Chinese. If the author had incorporated significantly more primary Chinese-language sources into his analysis, his arguments would likely have been more compelling. Second, the period covered in this work, stretching from ancient China to the Ming, is suitable for sweeping observations of long-term environmental transformations but is less suited to nuanced discussions of specific topics. Readers would probably form a much more substantive understanding of the relationships between food and the environment if the author had focused on a specific period spanning, at most, two or perhaps three dynasties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-577
Number of pages3
JournalEast Asian Science, Technology and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2019


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