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The Wobbling Pivot, China since 1800: An Interpretive History / Edition 1

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This comprehensive but concise narrative of China since the eighteenth century builds its story around the delicate relationship between central government and local communities.

  • Rejects the traditional view of China as a wholly harmonious society based on principles of stability – the Unwobbling Pivot of Ezra Pound's translation of the Chinese classic Zhongyong
  • Provides an original interpretation, arguing that developments can be explained through an understanding of China’s surprising swings between centralization and decentralization, between local initiative and central authoritarianism
  • Serves as an introduction to the subject, while readers with a background in Chinese history will find the book offers a personal perspective and addresses long-standing interpretive issues
  • Supported by a variety of timelines, maps, illustrations, and extensive notes for further reading
  • Places China’s history within the context of global change
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Finding a fresh angle to a familiar story is a challenge, one that this book has dealt with creatively and convincingly.” (English Historical Review, 1 June 2014

"As a textbook, The Wobbling Pivot is accessible, complete and readable, and as a synthesis of twentieth century Chinese history, it is both original and provocative, and a valuable introduction to the perennial issues that China poses in the undergraduate classroom.” (The China Quarterly, 1 September 2012)

"[A] lively survey ... .It sheds considerable light on contemporary Chinese dilemmas." (Shanghaiist, December 2010)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405160803
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Series: Wiley Desktop Editions Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 326
  • Sales rank: 1,142,737
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Pamela Kyle Crossley is Professor of Inner Asian, East Asian Intellectual and Chinese History at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. Her publications include The Manchus (Blackwell, 1997); A Translucent Mirror: History and Identity in Qing Ideology (1999); and What is Global History? (2008). She is a past Guggenheim Fellow and was awarded the Levenson Prize from the Association for Asian Studies in 2001. 

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations.

List of Maps.

Foreword and Acknowledgments.



1. The Wobbling Pivot.

2. Sources of Order Under the Qing Empire.

3. Sources of Disorder Under the Qing Empire.

4. Essay: Strategic Borders.

5. Qing and the World.

6. Essay: Rebel Heroines.

7. Visionaries.

8. Essay: Hunan Takes the Lead.

9. Essay: Water.

10. Beiyang Ascendancy.

11. Cultural Revolution.

12. Essay: Manchus as Minorities.

13. War.

14. The Ubiquitous Center.

15. Essay: Minerals.

16. Essay: Health Risks.

17. Gravity.



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