I am deeply indebted to the editors of this series, Bonnie Smith and Anand Yang, and to Nancy Toff of Oxford University Press, for inviting me to attempt such an overview of Chinese history. I greatly appreciate their confidence and their constructive criticisms. Three excellent outside readers gave me more helpfully sharp criticisms of my first draft than I wanted. I also want to thank Sonia Tycko for her expert help in locating and securing the illustrations for this volume, Joellyn Ausanka for managing the production process so cheerfully and efficiently, and Martha Ramsey for her expert copyediting. Brad Stern graciously contributed two photos, and the generosity of Andrea and Peter Klein greatly facilitated my research and helped make possible the illustrations in this volume. My intellectual debts are far too many to summarize here. I especially thank Thomas Massey of Clark University for being my sounding board and for his many suggestions on the overall thrust of this book. Bruce and Taeko Brooks have helped maintain my interest in, and shape my views of, early Chinese history. I’m extremely grateful to my wife, Marjorie, my most important source of support and inspiration. The oversights and errors that remain are entirely my own.