China in Revolution: The Yenan Way Revisited

China in Revolution: The Yenan Way Revisited

China in Revolution: The Yenan Way Revisited

China in Revolution: The Yenan Way Revisited

Synopsis

Originally published in the early 1970s, The Yenan Way in Revolutionary China has proved to be one of the most significant and enduring books published in the field. In this new critical edition of that seminal work, Mark Selden revisits the central themes therein and reconsiders them in light of major new theoretical and documentary understandings of the Chinese communist revolution.

Excerpt

The original edition of this book was among the first products of a new scholarship on revolutionary China: in its use of party and intelligence archival and documentary sources in Taiwan, Japan, and the United States; in offering the first "microsocietal" study of a single base area; in attempting to locate revolutionary processes in the dual contexts of Chinese politics and society on the one hand and international forces on the other; and in turning away from dominant paradigms of totalitarian theory and international communist conspiracy to explore creative and populist wellsprings of revolutionary change.

This book was also a product of the tumultuous events of the 1960s, particularly those in the United States, China, and Indochina, and of the global realignments and new thinking of that era. the U.S.-China relationship had been one of unremitting strife dating back two decades to U.S. intervention in the Chinese Civil War and continuing from the battlefields of Korea and (by proxy) Vietnam and Southeast Asia to the global ideological, political, and armed conflicts over socialism, capitalism, colonialism, and North-South relations. Those clashes shaped American scholarship and perceptions of revolutionary China and global revolutionary processes.

In 1963, as I embarked on the archival research that eventually produced The Yenan Way in Revolutionary China, U.S.-China and global power relations were in flux. the United States was moving toward full-scale military involvement in the Vietnam War while fissiparous forces were at work that shortly erupted in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China and civil rights, antiwar, and new left movements in the United States. the sinews of the postwar international order everywhere appeared to be unraveling. the costly U.S. defeat in Vietnam, punctuating the decline of U.S. hegemonic power and the collapse of the Sino- Soviet alliance, paved the way for a breakthrough in U.S.-China relations and a rethinking of the Chinese revolution.

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