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Winner of Distinguished Book Award, Society for Military History, 2017

Reviews and Endorsements


"The Gunpowder Age is a boldly argued, prodigiously researched and gracefully written work. This book has much to offer general readers, especially those with a passion for military history, as well as specialists."

       Wall Street Journal


"China invented gunpowder, guns, and bombs, so how did the West overtake, defeat, and humiliate the Chinese by the nineteenth century? Tackling one of history’s biggest unsolved mysteries, The Gunpowder Age is indispensable to debates in world history--and as exciting, dramatic, and engaging as a novel."

        —Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel


"An excellent book, full of history, science, and political economy ... a parallel history of the evolution of guns across China and Europe, with an eye toward explaining larger state structures."

        —Tyler Cowen,


"This is a marvelous book and one of the most enjoyable works of military history, Chinese history, and East/West comparison that I have read in years. The reader learns many wonderful things, from the impressive history of early gunpowder weapons in China to China’s ability to consistently defeat European expeditions in the 1600s. Andrade makes an original and vitally important contribution to debates about these fields and subjects."

       —Jack Goldstone, author of Why Europe? The Rise of the West in World History, 1500–1850


"At last we have a history of gunpowder that has been reconstructed as it should be, from both ends of the Eurasian continent. With the vigilance of the good historian and the zest of the good storyteller, Tonio Andrade argues brilliantly that the gunpowder age was as much the creation of China as of Europe. Let the controversy begin."

       —Timothy Brook, author of Mr. Selden’s Map of China


"The Gunpowder Age is an important revisionist history that brings together a very impressive amount of new information and interpretation, and will be essential reading, much debated and built on by scholars of the early modern histories of both Europe and China."

       John E. Wills, Jr., author of 1688: A Global History, and The World from 1450 to 1700



"In Tonio Andrade’s well-researched, balanced and comparative history of military innovation in Asia and the West, he challenges the traditional notion – compellingly set forth by Victor Davis Hanson in Carnage and Culture and Niall Ferguson in Civilization--that Western culture largely explains Western global predominance in the post-medieval world."

       South China Morning Post


"This book will make certain China specialists think again. Tonio Andrade wipes out the conviction held by many . . . in the field of Chinese history that it was Confucianism that kept China from adopting military technology. . . . Andrade is not the first scholar to make such claims, but he leads us deeper in these directions than any scholar to date. The case he makes here will encourage new publications along those lines and will certainly make teaching more interesting."

       Times Higher Education

A 2013 Lecture about The Gunpowder Age

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