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The Book of Lord Shang (Chinese-English)

  • The Book of Lord Shang
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Product Description

Library of Chinese Classics: The Book of Lord Shang
Author: Shang Yang
Translated into modern Chinese by Gao Heng
Translated into English by J. J. L. Duyvendak
Library binding book, dimensions 960 x 640, 1/16
Publisher: The Commercial Press, 2006
ISBN: 7100048796 9787100048798

The Book of Lord Shang is a collection of works written by Shang Yang (390-338 BC), and his disciples. At present, only 24 of his essays are well kept. This book records not only Shang Yang's ideas, his reform theories and measures, but also the political and military system in Qin and other states in the same period. As one of the representative works of Legalist School, the book has high historical and ideological value.

Along with the Han Fei-Tzu, it is one of the two principal sources of Legalism, a school of Chinese political thought. Legalism asserts that human behavior must be controlled through written law rather than through ritual, custom or ethics because people are innately selfish and ignorant. The law is not effective when it is based on goodness or virtue; it is effective when it compels obedience. This is essential to preserve the stability of the State.

Shang Yang was the political mastermind who ruled as Prime Minister of the ancient state of Qin. Lord Shang is famous for strengthening the Qin state, and although we can't be sure he wrote any of this text, it is clear that the reputation Qin received was earned by the type of government policies described herein. Thanks in part to the Lord of Shang's reforms, Qin managed to eventually unify China and end the Warring States Period, so it should be quite obvious that given his solid results, Gongsun Yang had no need for "sales tactics" to get in the Emperor's good books. He provided progress, broke the power of local lords, sought out and destroyed sources of inefficiency, and did his best to streamline the state into one giant, agriculturally based war machine.

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