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Roberts, J.A.G. 1935–

Roberts, J.A.G. 1935–

(Bill Roberts, John Anthony George Roberts)


Born December 4, 1935, in Southampton, England; son of Frederick George (a schoolteacher) and Muriel Elizabeth (a schoolteacher) Roberts; married Janet Claire Dodd, 1976; children: Michael, Saskia Roberts White, Thomas, Miranda Roberts Sowden, Jude, Kim. Ethnicity: "White European." Education: Queen's College, Oxford, M.A., 1959, D.Phil., 1969, and certificate of education; attended University of California, Berkeley, 1964-65. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, walking.


Home—Huddersfield, England. E-mail—[email protected]


Overseas Civil Service, district officer, 1960-64; history teacher at a school in Exmouth, England, 1969-72; University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, England, began as lecturer, became principal lecturer in humanities, 1972-2007. Open University, tutor; lecturer at other educational institutions, including University of Essex and University of Leeds. Military service: British Army, served with Gloucestershire Regiment; became lieutenant.


British Association of Chinese Studies, Royal Historical Society (fellow).


(Editor) China through Western Eyes: The Nineteenth Century; A Reader in History, Alan Sutton (Wolfeboro Falls, NH), 1991.

(Editor) China through Western Eyes: The Twentieth Century, Alan Sutton (Wolfeboro Falls, NH), 1992.

A History of China: From Prehistory to c. 1800, Sutton Publishing (Stroud, England), 1996.

Modern China: An Illustrated History, Sutton Publishing (Stroud, England), 1998.

A Concise History of China, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1999, published as A History of China, Macmillan (London, England), 1999, 2nd edition, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2006.

China to Chinatown: Chinese Food in the West, Reaktion (London, England), 2002.

Contributor to books, including Prophecy: The Power of Inspired Language in History, 1300-2000, edited by Bertrand Taithe and Tim Thornton, Sutton Publishing (Stroud, England), 1997; and The Representation and Reality of War: The British Experience; Essays in Honour of David Wright, edited by K.R. Dockray and K. Laybourn, Sutton Publishing (Stroud, England), 1999. Contributor of articles and reviews to Periodicals, including Journal of Further and Higher Education, Times Higher Education Supplement, Review of African Political Economy, and Monumenta Nipponica. Some Writings appear under the name Bill Roberts.


J.A.G. Roberts is a specialist in Chinese history and the author of several works on China. In A History of China: From Prehistory to c. 1800, Roberts presents a chronological overview of Chinese history organized around the major dynasties and includes information on archaeological discoveries, using a writing style that is "both lucid and succinct," according to Olivier Burckhardt in Contemporary Review. Burckhardt wrote that Roberts "manages not only to present a clear introduction to Chinese history but to outline conflicting interpretations of that history without excessive analysis."

A second volume, Modern China: An Illustrated History, continues where the first volume ends and, like its predecessor, is geared to the general reader. It deals with Western influences on China, rebellions within China, the rise of nationalism, the revolution in 1911, the warlord era, the Sino-Japanese War, and the rise of the People's Republic of China. "The distillation of recent scholarship, which the present volume embodies, is a timely guide to China's recent turbulent history," observed Burckhardt, this time in History Today. In Booklist, Jay Freeman described Modern China as "informative and easily digestible." In addition, Library Journal reviewer Peggy Spitzer Christoff noted the work's "excellent references" and "lively discussion" of the rise of communism in China. A Concise History of China covers both the time periods addressed in the earlier two volumes, in what Booklist reviewer Freeman called an "enjoyable and immensely informative" work.



Booklist, September 1, 1998, Jay Freeman, review of Modern China: An Illustrated History, pp. 62-63; November 1, 1999, Jay Freeman, review of A Concise History of China, p. 506.

China Review International, fall, 1997, John Lee, review of A History of China: From Prehistory to c. 1800, pp. 523-525.

Contemporary Review, August, 1997, Olivier Burckhardt, review of A History of China, pp. 104-105.

History Today, October, 1998, Olivier Burckhardt, review of Modern China, p. 54.

Kirkus Reviews, October 16, 1999, review of A Concise History of China, p. 1624.

Library Journal, September 15, 1998, Peggy Spitzer Christoff, review of Modern China, p. 99.

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