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It has been said in China that a city without a wall would be as inconceivable as a house without a roof. Even the smallest village invariably had some form of defensive wall, while the Great Wall of China was an attempt to build a barrier along the most vulnerable border of the entire country. Yet the finest examples of walled communities were China's walled cities, whose defensive architecture surpassed anything along the Great Wall. This book traces the evolution of the walled city from the 3,000 year old remains of the beaten earth walls of the Shang dynasty to the huge stone fortifications of the Ming dynasty. Stephen Turnbull, expert military historian, reveals the defensive structures from all the major ancient Chinese cities, and discusses how they protected entire communities, and not just castle dwellers, with colour artwork reconstructions, maps and archive photographs.