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The Great Wall

The Great Wall is the most famous of China s monuments. Everyone has seen pictures of the line of stone snaking over mountains. Millions every year take the five mile journey from Beijing to climb its battlements. But what do we really know about the Great Wall? any myths surround the wall. Many believe it is the only man-made structure visible from space. Not true- it cannot even been seen from earth orbit. Estimates of its length vary from 1,500 to 5,000 miles. Even its name is deceptive it is not an it, a single entity, but many walls (hence the uncertain length), most of which are not of stone, but of earth. In history, the closer you look the less you see a single Great Wall, but rather a series of walls erected at different times and for different reasons. ut what is undoubtedly true about the Great Wall is that it is a product of the most fascinating , and far-reaching, Chinese history. Some parts were built by different states and originally joined together in the 3rd century BC, to counter the threat from nomadic barbarians from the north a threat that was to be a dark shadow on China s borders for almost 2,000 years. In this riveting history John Man travels the l
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About the Author

John Man is a historian and travel writer with a special interest in Mongolia. After reading German and French at Oxford he did two postgraduate courses, one in the history of science at Oxford , the other in Mongolian at the School of Oriental and African Studies. His GOBI- TRACKING THE DESERT (Weidenfeld, 1997) was the first book on the subject in English since the 1920s. He is also the author of THE ATLAS OF THE YEAR 1000, (Penguin 1999), ALPHA BETA (Headline, 2000) on the roots of the Roman alphabet, THE GUTENBERG REVOLUTION (Headline 2002) on the origins and impact of printing, GENGHIS KHAN, ATTILA THE HUN and KUBLAI KHAN.

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