This lively and engaging text offers a panorama of modern Chinese history through compelling biographies of the famous and obscure. Spanning five hundred years, they include a Ming dynasty medical pioneer, a Qing dynasty courtesan, a nineteenth-century Hong Kong business leader, a Manchu princess, an arsenal manager, a woman soldier, and a young maid in contemporary Beijing. Through the lives of these diverse people, readers will gain an understanding of the complex questions of modern Chinese history: What did it mean to be Chinese, and how did that change over time? How was learning encouraged and directed in imperial and post-imperial China? Was it possible to challenge entrenched gender roles? What effects did European imperialism have on Chinese lives? How did ordinary Chinese experience the warfare and political upheaval of twentieth-century China? What is the nature of the gap between urban and rural China in the post-Mao years? These richly researched biographies are written in an accessible and appealing style that will engage all readers interested in modern China.
Contributions by: Daria Berg, John M. Carroll, Kenneth J. Hammond, Joshua H. Howard, Fabio Lanza, Oliver Moore, Pan Yihong, Hugh Shapiro, Kristin Stapleton, and Shuo Wang