Graham Hutchings

No Stone Left Unturned

The Great Wall: China Against the World, 1000 BC – 2000 AD


Atlantic Books 412pp £19.99 order from our bookshop

When it comes to global icons, the Great Wall of China is almost unsurpassed. It has become the supreme symbol of a unique civilisation that is as remarkable for its longevity as it is for its magnificence. It is also the object of a patriotic cult. ‘Let us love our country and restore our Great Wall,’ declared Deng Xiaoping in 1984, launching a programme of refurbishment designed to end decades of neglect and establish the ‘meaning’ of the Great Wall in the consciousness of a people whom Chairman Mao had often taught to despise and destroy the feudal past. The Great Wall, as thousands of contemporary Chinese brand names, logos, works of art and other phenomena declare, is China. It is the monument of Chinese self-definition.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter