Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Pg. 69: "Modern China: A Very Short Introduction"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Rana Mitter's Modern China: A Very Short Introduction.

About the book, from the Oxford University Press:
China today is never out of the news: from human rights controversies and the continued legacy of Tiananmen Square, to global coverage of the Beijing Olympics, and the Chinese "economic miracle." It is a country of contradictions and transitions: a peasant society with some of the world's most futuristic cities, an ancient civilization that is modernizing as rapidly as possible, a walled-off nation that is increasingly at the center of world trade. This Very Short Introduction offers an indispensable starting point for anyone who needs to quickly know the themes and controversies that have shaped modern China. Prize-winning author and scholar Rana Mitter examines the modern history, politics, economy, and thriving cultural scene of contemporary China, and its relations with the wider world. This lively guide covers a range of social issues from the decline of footbinding and the position of women in society, to the influence of television and film, and the role of the overseas Chinese diaspora. It covers many prominent figures as well, such as the Communist leaders, the last emperors, and prominent writers and artists throughout China's history.
Among the early praise for the book:
"[A]s historian Rana Mitter argues, modern China has become a bewildering mix of nationalism, communism, Confucian values and what Mao condemned as "economism" - the pursuit of ever higher living standards. Above all, says Mitter memorably, "China is a plural noun." He neatly surveys the last 200 years of its history with a view to defining China's unique brand of modernity."
--PD Smith, Guardian

"[C]overs a great deal of ground in a consistently engaging fashion and manages to remain accessible even when tackling complex issues."
--Jeff Wasserstrom
Watch a video of Mitter introducing his book.

Read more about Modern China: A Very Short Introduction at the Oxford University Press website.

Learn more about Rana Mitter's research and publications at his faculty webpage.

Rana Mitter is University Lecturer in the History and Politics of Modern China and Fellow of St Cross College, University of Oxford. His previous publications include The Manchurian Myth: Nationalism, Resistance, and Collaboration in Modern China. (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2000)
and A Bitter Revolution: China's Struggle with the Modern World. (Oxford, 2004).

The Page 69 Test: Modern China: A Very Short Introduction.

--Marshal Zeringue