K. C. Chang's Shang Civilization is an invaluable, encyclopaedic guide to the archaeology, anthropology, and culture of East Asia's first historical dynasty. After a summary of the book's scope and a sampling of its interpretations, the review discusses six of Chang's major themes: (1) the acceptance of the “longer” rather than “shorter” dynastic chronology; (2) the identification of Cheng-chou as a Shang capital; (3) the hypothesis that two major groups held royal power in alternate generations; (4) the extent to which the states surrounding the Shang enjoyed cultural and ethnic unity; (5) the existence of numerous walled towns; and (6) the relation between bronze tools and agricultural productivity.

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