ABOUT THIS BOOK
“Thoughtful, probing…a worthy successor to the famous histories of Fairbank and Spence [that] will be read by all students and scholars of modern China.”
—William C. Kirby, coauthor of Can China Lead?
It is tempting to attribute the rise of China to Deng Xiaoping and to recent changes in economic policy. But China has a long history of creative adaptation. In the eighteenth century, the Qing Empire dominated a third of the world’s population. Then, as the Opium Wars and the Taiping Rebellion ripped the country apart, China found itself verging on free fall. More recently, after Mao, China managed a surprising recovery, rapidly undergoing profound economic and social change. A dynamic story of crisis and recovery, failure and triumph, Making China Modern explores the versatility and resourcefulness that guaranteed China’s survival, powered its rise, and will determine its future.
“Chronicles reforms, revolutions, and wars through the lens of institutions, often rebutting Western impressions.”
“A remarkable accomplishment. Unlike an earlier generation of scholarship, Making China Modern does not treat China’s contemporary transformation as a postscript. It accepts China as a major and active player in the world, places China at the center of an interconnected and global network of engagement, links domestic politics to international dynamics, and seeks to approach China on its own terms.”
—Wen-hsin Yeh, author of Shanghai Splendor
Mühlhahn chronicles reforms, revolutions, and wars through the lens of institutions, often rebutting Western impressions, such as the view of Chinese bureaucracy as monolithic. He also warns against thinking of China’s economic success as proof of a unique path without contextualizing it in historical specifics.
-- New Yorker
A major achievement…It is written with clarity and humanity, and draws clearly on a wide range of recent scholarship…Mühlhahn’s book can be recommended in the highest terms.
-- Rana Mitter American Historical Review
Innovative and fresh…Mühlhahn’s skillful presentation will make this book a highly popular one.
-- David Buck H-Net Reviews
Mühlhahn offers a detailed, balanced survey of the history of modern China, from the rise of the Qing in the early 17th century to the dawn of the Xi administration in 2012… A masterful synthesis.
A truly important book. Not since Fairbank have we seen such a masterful sweep of traditional, modern, and contemporary history of China thoroughly grounded in Chinese materials and perspectives but eloquently addressed to the interests and concerns of an English-reading public. Mühlhahn’s narrative will help people anywhere in the world make sense of the China they must deal with today.
-- Timothy Cheek, author of The Intellectual in Modern Chinese History
Mühlhahn is one of the world’s leading historians of modern China. A scholar of breadth and depth across disciplines, he has written a compelling narrative of China’s great last empire, the Qing, and of the revolutions and republics that have struggled to succeed it. This thoughtful, probing interpretation is a worthy successor to the famous histories of Fairbank and Spence and will be read by all students and scholars of modern China.
-- William C. Kirby, coauthor of Can China Lead?
A remarkable accomplishment. Unlike an earlier generation of scholarship, Making China Modern does not treat China’s contemporary transformation as a postscript. It accepts China as a major and active player in the world, places China at the center of an interconnected and global network of engagement, links domestic politics to international dynamics, and seeks to approach China on its own terms.
-- Wen-hsin Yeh, author of Shanghai Splendor
At last we have a serious introduction to modern China in which the Chinese are the principal architects of their history, drawing upon the ideas and symbols embedded in their own cultural contexts and normative traditions to create distinctive institutions responsive to the crises and opportunities they have encountered. Anyone wanting to understand the importance of contemporary China for our global future should read this important book.
-- R. Bin Wong, coauthor of Before and Beyond Divergence
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Timeline: China, 1644–2017
List of Maps
Part 1. The Rise and Fall of Qing China
1. Age of Glory: 1644–1800
2. Reordering the Chinese World: 1800–1870
3. Late Qing Predicaments: 1870–1900
Part 2. Chinese Revolutions
4. Upending the Empire: 1900–1919
5. Rebuilding during the Republican Era: 1920–1937
6. China at War: 1937–1948
Part 3. Remaking China
7. Socialist Transformation: 1949–1955
8. Leaping Ahead: 1955–1960
9. Overthrowing Everything: 1961–1976
Part 4. China Rising
10. Reform and Opening: 1977–1989
11. Overall Advance: 1990–2012
12. Ambitions and Anxieties: Contemporary China