Rebellions and Revolutions: China from the 1800s to the 1980s

By Jack Gray | Go to book overview

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER READING

In the past twenty years about six thousand books have been published on modern China in English alone. The best introduction to this large literature can be found in the book review pages of China Quarterly. This present list has the simple aim of suggesting such further reading as will allow the reader to form his own conclusions on the many controversial issues which have been commented upon, often all too briefly, in this volume.

The best guide to chronology is Colin McKerras, Modern China: A Chronology from 1842 to the Present Day ( 1982). The Times Atlas of China ( 1974) is indispensable for maps. The most comprehensive history, for the purpose of reference, is provided by vols. 10-13 (vol. 14 forthcoming) of the scholarly Cambridge History of China. There are several survey histories; each has its own character. Immanuel C. Y. Hsu, The Rise of Modern China ( 3rd edn., 1983) is in the tradition of Chinese nationalist history, an eloquent and scholarly exposition of China's struggle to regain strength and dignity. Li Chien-nung, The Political History of China, 1840- 1928 (trans. and abr. by Teng Ssu-yu and Jeremy Ingalls, 1956), written by a notable Chinese historian who lived through much of the times he describes, is enlivened by the author's irony and scepticism. O. Edmund Clubb, Twentieth Century China ( 1964), written by a former servant of the US Government in China, provides the most systematic narrative, backed by both experience and scholarship. The authors of three related volumes, Frederic Wakeman, The Fall of Imperial China ( 1975), James E. Sheridan, China in Disintegration ( 1975), and Maurice Meisner, Mao's China ( 1977), use a looser form which allows them to lay emphasis on what each regards as most significant. John K. Fairbank , E. O. Reischauer and A. M. Craig, East Asia: Tradition and Transformation ( 1973) similarly develops, in its China sections, the ideas which John K. Fairbank, doyen of American studies of modern China, has developed in a long lifetime of concern with Chinese affairs. Jonathan Spence, The Gate of Heavenly Peace: The Chinese and their Revolution, 1895-1980 ( 1981) expounds the history of the revolution through the experience of its intellectual participants in a book distinguished for both style and imagination, a book to be enjoyed for its own sake -- one of the few history books one could read in bed. Lucien Bianco, The Origins of the Chinese Revolution, 1915-1949 ( 1971) is full of interesting ideas.

In addition to these survey histories, there are several symposium volumes which contain much material indispensable to an understanding of modern China: W. E. Willmott (ed.), Economic Organization in Chinese Society ( 1972), Jack Gray (ed.), Modern China's Search for a Political Form ( 1969), Albert Feuerwerker, Rhoads Murphey and Mary C. Wright (eds.), Approaches to Modern Chinese History ( 1967), and James B. Crowley (ed.), Modern East Asia: Essays in Interpretation ( 1970).

On Chinese traditional society the following books, whose titles are self-explanatory, can be recommended: Chang Chung-li, The Chinese Gentry ( 1955), Hsiao Kung- chuan , Rural China: Imperial Control in the Nineteenth Century ( 1960), Martin C.

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