Wednesday, December 16, 2015

G427 Book Review of The Three Kingdoms Vol III: Welcome the Tiger by Guanzhong Luo

Name of Book: The Three Kingdoms Vol III: Welcome the Tiger

Author: Luo Guanzhong, translation by Yu Sumei and Ronald C Iverson

ISBN: 978-0-8048-4395-9

Publisher: Tuttle

Part of a Series: The Three Kingdoms; this is the conclusion to Volumes I and II and has chapters 75-120

Type of book: Wars, China, 219-260? conquer, Three Kingdoms of Wu, Wei and Shu, political manipulations, successors, rulers, the ultimate winner

Year it was published: 1300s (this translation in 2014)

Summary:

This exciting new translation with footnotes will appeal to modern readers who find the twists and turns of Game of Thrones so compelling.

The Three Kingdoms is an epic Chinese novel written over six centuries ago. It recounts in vivid historical detail the turbulent years at the close of the Han Dynasty, when China broke into three competing kingdoms and over half the population were either killed or driven from their homes. Part myth, part fact, readers will experience the loyalty and treachery, the brotherhood and rivalry of China's legendary heroes and villains during the most tumultuous period in Chinese history.

Considered the greatest work in classic Chinese literature, The Three Kingdoms is read by millions throughout Asia today. Seen not just as a great work of art, many Chinese view it as a guide to success in life and business as well as a work that offers great moral clarity�while many foreigners read it to gain insights into Chinese society and culture.

This third volume concludes the tale of Liu Bei and his sworn brothers-in-arms, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu, whose loyalty and fidelity are sorely tested in a society at war for its very survival.

Characters:

While there are new heroes and villains, they aren't as memorable as the sworn brothers and their friends and rivals. Few of the memorable new characters include Sima Zhao who descends from Sima Yi who is an advisor to Cao Cao's descendants as well as a master manipulator and a schemer. Zhuge Liang's successor, Jiang Wei who seems to become extremely stubborn and continues to engage in wars no matter the cost or consequences. The descendants of Liu Bei and Cao Cao are slightly interesting, but aside from their negative actions, there is little focus on their merits, and same goes for Sun Quan's descendants.

Theme:

"Unity succeeds division and division follows unity." (page 10 of Vol.I)

Plot:

The story is told in third person narrative, but unlike the previous volumes, this is a little more focused on specific characters rather than everyone. From what I recall it focuses on Zhuge Liang and his successor as well as what was going on in the Kingdom of Wu and briefly what happened in Kingdom of Wei. I will mention that the ending and who came out on top will be surprising to the readers and it won't be something many will see coming, unless they have studies in Chinese history of that particular era.

Author Information:
(From Book)

Luo Guanzhong: It is thought that he is either a writer or an editor of the book. Earlier he was an editor to another Chinese classic titled Outlaws of the Marsh.

"Ron Iverson: (From the book) He first visited China in 1984 as the personal representative of the Mayor of Chicago as part of a Sister Cities program. For the past 30 years he has continued to regularly visit China and has founded joint business ventures with Chinese partners and taught Business Strategy at Tongji University in Shanghai. He also personally arranged the first ever exhibition of Forbidden City artifacts from the palace Museum in Beijing to tour the Us.

"Early in his visits to China, Iverson discovered The Three Kingdoms and came to realize the enormous cultural significance the Chinese people place in the book. Believing that one needed to be familiar with the principles revealed in the book in order to find business or political success in China, and being dissatisfied with existing translations, Iverson decided to fund and edit a new translation aimed towards delivering the thrill of a contemporary novel while imparting understanding of a key aspect of Chinese culture.

"Yu Sumei: She is a professor of English at East China Normal University. SHe has translated several English language books into Chinese and is the first native Chinese speaker to translate The Three Kingdoms into English. She invested a total of two years into working on this new translation of The Three Kingdoms, spending the time on sabbatical in New York with her daughter, who typed the translation out as she completed it."

Opinion:

This is the "sequel" or "conclusion" to The Three Kingdoms, and this part includes chapters 75-120. I have to admit that by this point, especially after many years have passed and new heroes replaced the old, I didn't see the motivation in continuing to read the story, but when I came to the end and realized the ultimate lesson one could learn about The Three Kingdoms, it was well worth the journey and it ties up very interestingly to the beginning of chapter one. The translation of the book is excellent as always, although by this point with battles and constant scheming was no longer intriguing to me. Towards the end, I believe, the book does switch focus from battles to how the future generations controlled the land their fathers gave to them, and what ultimately happened to the Three Kingdoms of Shu, Wei and Wu.

This was given to me by Tuttle Publishing company for an honest review

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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