Making China Modern: From the Great Qing to Xi Jinping

Making China Modern: From the Great Qing to Xi Jinping

by Klaus Mühlhahn


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A panoramic survey of China’s rise and resilience through war and rebellion, disease and famine, that rewrites China’s history for a new generation.

It is tempting to attribute China’s recent ascendance to changes in political leadership and economic policy. Making China Modern teaches otherwise. Moving beyond the standard framework of Cold War competition and national resurgence, Klaus Mühlhahn situates twenty-first-century China in the nation’s long history of creative adaptation.

In the mid-eighteenth century, when the Qing Empire reached the height of its power, China dominated a third of the world’s population and managed its largest economy. But as the Opium Wars threatened the nation’s sovereignty from without and the Taiping Rebellion ripped apart its social fabric from within, China found itself verging on free fall. A network of family relations, economic interdependence, institutional innovation, and structures of governance allowed citizens to regain their footing in a convulsing world. In China’s drive to reclaim regional centrality, its leaders looked outward as well as inward, at industrial developments and international markets offering new ways to thrive.

This dynamic legacy of overcoming adversity and weakness is apparent today in China’s triumphs—but also in its most worrisome trends. Telling a story of crisis and recovery, Making China Modern explores the versatility and resourcefulness that matters most to China’s survival, and to its future possibilities.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674737358
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 01/14/2019
Pages: 736
Sales rank: 453,975
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.50(h) x 2.10(d)

About the Author

Klaus Mühlhahn is Professor of Chinese History and Culture and Vice President at the Free University of Berlin. His Criminal Justice in China: A History won the John K. Fairbank Prize in East Asian History from the American Historical Association. Mühlhahn has published widely on modern Chinese history in English, German, and Chinese and is a frequent commentator on China for the German media.

Table of Contents

Timeline: China, 1644-2017 ix

List of Maps xiii

Introduction 1

Part 1 The Rise and Fall of Qing China 21

1 Age of Glory: 1644-1800 25

2 Reordering the Chinese World: 1800-1870 85

3 Late Qing Predicaments: 1870-1900 153

Part 2 Chinese Revolutions 203

4 Upending the Empire: 1900-1919 209

5 Rebuilding during the Republican Era: 1920-1937 248

6 China at War: 1937-1948 298

Part 3 Remaking China 353

7 Socialist Transformation: 1949-1953 359

8 Leaping Ahead: 1955-1960 408

9 Overthrowing Everything: 1961-1976 448

Part 4 China Rising 487

10 Reform and Opening: 1977-1989 491

11 Overall Advance: 1990-2012 527

12 Ambitions and Anxieties: Contemporary China 560

Abbreviations 617

Notes 619

Acknowledgments 695

Index 701

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