Modernization and Revolution in China

Modernization and Revolution in China

Modernization and Revolution in China

Modernization and Revolution in China

Synopsis

In this book, China's struggle to modernize is set against a historical background. From the Opium War to Tiananmen Square, the authors narrate the great episodes that punctuate that journey: the breakdown of imperial China; the rise of the new Chinese republic; the early struggles between ideologies and armies of Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong; China's war with the Japanese; the final shootout that sent Chiang to Taiwan and Mao to Beijing; and the long years of the People's Republic - culminating in the reforms of Deng Xiaoping.

Excerpt

Modernization and Revolution in China has been written primarily with the undergraduate college student and lay historian in mind. There are many fine textbooks on China, but the authors of this book always had problems trying to find a survey of Chinese history in one volume that could serve the needs of a course that focused on the modern era. We found that most textbooks on Chinese history were either too lengthy and detailed in their coverage of the imperial period or, if devoted to the Communist era, incomplete in their treatment of the all-important nineteenth-century background. It is this gap in the literature that this history of modern China hopes to fill.

The authors of this book believe that an understanding of contemporary China requires an appreciation of the rich historical traditions that molded its past. China is one of the world's oldest, geographically contiguous civilizations, and for this reason alone, history probably looms larger in the Chinese consciousness than it does in the minds and thoughts of most other peoples. There are very few civilizations that have shown such reverence for the wisdom of the ancestral past. A deep sensitivity and respect for historical traditions also has meant that the Chinese have had to travel down a much longer road to accommodate their culture to the demands of "modernization," that is, the panoply of forces that move a society away from old habits and customs in the direction of urbanization, industrialization, and the rationalization of thought and behavior.

The central themes around which we have woven our narrative are those of modernization and revolution. These processes of change can be seen in the crucial nineteenth century--hence the great amount of space devoted to that period in this text--and partly were the product of outside influences. Yet from the outset there was an ongoing strug-

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