This book explores the profound cultural impact of the civil service examinations during the period when they first became the primary means of government recruitment.
John W. Chaffee is Chairperson and Associate Professor in the Department of History at State University of New York, Binghamton. He is coeditor of NeoConfucian Education: The Formative Stage, and former editor of the Bulletin of Sung Yuan Studies.
"Chaffee places the increase in size of the elite in a dynamic context, showing the consequences of successive developments over the three centuries of Sung rule. He offers cogent summaries of complex institutional developments, devises imaginative ways to analyze the statistical evidence available, draws careful inferences from anecdotes, and moves comfortably between contemporary Chinese interpretations and his own analyses. I have seldom read a book in which I found so much to admire. " — Patricia Ebrey, American Historical Review
"The Sung was an age of exceptional innovation, and it is in the context of discussion of changes in Sung society that Chaffee introduces his findings. Western historians of China will find in this well-researched volume much to stimulate further reflection on the period. " — T. H. Barrett, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland