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No. 11, November 2000
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The Columbia Guide to
Modern Chinese History
by R. Keith Schoppa 

Get it from Amazon.com
R. Keith Schoppa's introduction to Modern Chinese History contains in some 150 pages a chronological historical narrative from 1780 to the present. It provides a comprehensive overview of domestic politics, society, the economy, the world of culture and thought and foreign relations. The second part of the book, some 60 pages, is a compendium of 250 short, descriptive articles divided into eleven sections spanning from events and movements to institutions and organizations, emperors, terms and treaties, Qing dynasty government leaders, leaders of dissent, rebellion and revolution, Nationalist and Communist party leaders to military figures and intellectuals, writers and artists. The third part of Modern Chinese History, about 45 pages, is a resource guide with some 500 annotated entries for sources for further research in English, 61 general works and some 430 more specific books, as well as descriptions of important films depicting modern China and, unfortunately only on one page, a list of Internet resources. Part IV, ca. 70 pages, contains appendices such as a chronology of key events from 1780 to the present, documents (e.g. the Boxer protocol of 1901 or the decision of the Central Committee of the CCP concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of 1966) and tables and figures on trends and developments (such as demographics, trade, urban residents' income and living expenses in 1995). A 35-page index concludes the volume.
 
According to R. Keith Schoppa, "At the heart of modern Chinese history have been the efforts of the Chinese people to transform the traditional polity into a modern nation-state, the Confucian orthodoxy into an ideology that could help shape the process, and an agrarian economy into an industrial one. The result has been the largest revolution in world history in terms both of the radicalism of the changes and of the number of people affected." In the early 19th century, the Western colonial powers (as well as Japan) reduced China into a semicolony. "China's struggle to emerge from Western-imposed humiliation continues, from the Chinese perspective, until the present." The Columbia Guide to Modern Chinese History tries to offer a look beneath the surface and is specially suited for students and other readers who need basic information in a condensed form as well as orientation on further reading. A useful instrument, only the hardcover's price is not well-suited for students pockets.
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R. Keith Schoppa holds the Doehler Chair in Asian History at Loyola College. He is the author of Blood Road: The Mystery of Shen Dingyi in Revolutionary China, Xiang Lake: Nine Centuries of Chinese life and Chinese Elites and Political Change.
 
R. Keith Schoppa: The Columbia Guide to Modern Chinese History (Columbia Guides to Asian History). Hardcover, Columbia University Press, July 2000, 320 p. Get it from Amazon.com

www.cosmopolis.ch
No. 11, November 2000
current edition & archives
Art  Film  Music  History  Politics  Archives
Links  For Advertisers  Feedback  German edition  Travel

Copyright 2000  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.