"Pamela Crossley, a leading historian of the Qing Empire, has hit upon a genuinely novel and stylish way of telling the story of China's modern transformations. She strikes a good balance between offering up big arguments and supporting them with revealing details, and she excels at limning connections between collective actions and state responses to unrest two centuries ago and patterns of protest and repression in the current era of Internet petitions and text message mobilization. The result is truly impressive, a high-level work of synthesis that is informed by deep knowledge of the past yet speaks with immediacy to the concerns of the present."
"Pamela Crossley's book gives readers a new and original perspective on modern Chinese history by moving its focus away from the politics of the centre to give us a greater understanding of how China's regions and minorities have shaped this multi-voiced society in its transition from empire to nation-state."
This comprehensive but concise narrative of China since the eighteenth century builds its story around the delicate relationship between central government and local communities.
With a nod to Ezra Pound's translation of the Chinese classic Zhongyong - The Unwobbling Pivot, Pamela Kyle Crossley argues that China's modern history has not wholly adhered to the ideal of the "unwobbling pivot", with China as a harmonious society based on principles of stability. Instead, she argues that developments can be explained through China's suprising swings between centralization and decentralization, between local initiative and central authoritarianism. The author's approach is broad enough to provide a full introduction to modern Chinese history. Students new to the subject will be supported with timelines, maps, illustrations, and extensive notes to further readings, while those with a background in Chinese history will find an underlying theme in the narrative addressing long-standing interpretive issues.
As a personal perspective from a leading authority in the field, The Wobbling Pivot provides a stimulating and original interpretation of the course of modern Chinese history.