A century ago, outsiders saw China as a place where nothing ever changes. Today the country has become one of the most dynamic regions on earth. In Oracle Bones, Peter Hessler explores the human side of China's transformation, viewing modern-day China and its growing links to the Western world through the lives of a handful of ordinary people. In a narrative that gracefully moves between the ancient and the present, the East and the West, Hessler captures the soul of a country that is undergoing a momentous change before our eyes.
In the final years of the 19th century, China was in grave danger of becoming a colony of the West. While various powers bickered over how to slice the pie, their very presence in China, like their new technologies and Christian missions, undermined the people's traditional ways. A strange, reactionary movement--mystical, nationalistic and virulently anti Christian--began to spread like wildfire among the Chinese peasants. The contemptuous foreigners, snickering at their martial-arts routines, nicknamed them "The Boxers." Few could imagine that the Boxers would receive backing from China's Empress Dowager, herself eager for a showdown with the foreigners, and would soon terrorize them and the world.
The Boxer Rebellion is a panoramic chronicle of the uprising and ensuing two-month siege of the 11 foreign ministries in Peking (now Beijing), and of the foreign community in Tientsin (now Tianjin) during the summer of 1900--an event whose repercussions have echoed throughout the intervening century. It left tens of thousands of Chinese dead, precipitated the end of dynastic rule in China, and has tainted China's relationship with the wider world to this day. It is also a richly human story.
Relying on the diaries, letters, and memoirs of the defenders, and on her own extensive research from both Chinese and western perspectives, Diana Preston portrays the dramatic human experience of the Boxer rising: in the diplomatic district of Peking, cut off from the outside world during the desperate weeks of the siege; behind the high, byzantine walls of Peking's Inner City, where decisions were made that forever changed Chinese society; among the allied relief forces struggling to lift the siege; in the aftermath when the great city was savagely looted and despoiled. Here is young Herbert Hoover, then a mining engineer, patrolling the barricades of Tientsin at night on bicycle; British admiral Sir Edward Seymour, whose aborted rescue mission became itself a survival story; Polly Condit Smith, the observant young Boston guest of American first secretary Herbert Squiers, who was besieged in Peking; the French Bishop Auguste Favier, whose successful defense of Peking's Peitang Cathedral was nothing short of a Christian miracle; and Tzu Hsi, the fabled Empress Dowager who had held power for nearly forty years, fighting to preserve her own throne and a dynastic way of life that had lasted for centuries.
Placing readers squarely in the middle of events as they unfolded, Diana Preston proves herself a master of narrative history, a writer who brings the past alive with style and freshness. Offering a view through the lens of the rapid changes in society and culture at the time, The Boxer Rebellion broadens our knowledge of the 20th century.
In 1905 President Teddy Roosevelt dispatched Secretary of War William Howard Taft on the largest U.S. diplomatic mission in history to Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, China, and Korea. Roosevelt's glamorous twenty-one year old daughter Alice served as mistress of the cruise, which included senators and congressmen. On this trip, Taft concluded secret agreements in Roosevelt's name.
In 2005, a century later, James Bradley traveled in the wake of Roosevelt's mission and discovered what had transpired in Honolulu, Tokyo, Manila, Beijing and Seoul.
In 1905, Roosevelt was bully-confident and made secret agreements that he though would secure America's westward push into the Pacific. Instead, he lit the long fuse on the Asian firecrackers that would singe America's hands for a century.
The haunting memoir of a girl growing up in the Moso country in the Himalayas -- a unique matrilineal society. But even in this land of women, familial tension is eternal. Namu is a strong-willed daughter, and conflicts between her and her rebellious mother lead her to break the taboo that holds the Moso world together -- she leaves her mother's house.
"Few outsiders have any realistic sense of the innards, motives, rivalries, and fears of the Chinese Communist leadership. But we all know much more than before, thanks to Richard McGregor's illuminating and richly-textured look at the people in charge of China's political machinery.... Invaluable." -- James Fallows, National Correspondent for The Atlantic
The Party is Financial Times reporter Richard McGregor's eye-opening investigation into China's Communist Party, and the integral role it has played in the country's rise as a global superpower and rival to the United States. Many books have examined China's economic rise, human rights record, turbulent history, and relations with the U.S.; none until now, however, have tackled the issue central to understanding all of these issues: how the ruling communist government works. The Party delves deeply into China's secretive political machine.
A renowned expert on Chinese history turns his considerable talent and experience to the life of China's greatest modern leader--the enigmatic, mythologized, often maligned, and still-revered architect of Chinese Communism and the modern Chinese state.
In this groundbreaking examination of Chinese Protestants and their place in the history of modern China, Ryan Dunch focuses on the Fuzhou area of southeast China from the mid-nineteenth century until 1927, when a national revolutionary government was established. Though accounting for only a small proportion of the population, Protestants occupied a central place in Fuzhou's political, intellectual, and social life, Dunch contends. He shows how Chinese Protestants, with a distinctive vision for constituting China as a modern nation-state, contributed to the dissolution of the imperial regime, enjoyed unprecedented popularity following the 1911 revolution, and then saw their dreams for social and political change dashed. Dunch draws on previously untapped Chinese-language sources and on mission archives and publications to understand how Chinese Protestants saw themselves and to situate them within local Chinese society. He explores how the missionary presence diffused not only religion but also notions of nationalism and identity and models of political ritual. The book concludes with a discussion of the discrediting of Protestant nationalism and the frustration of Protestant hope
Chinese peasants chafed against the foreign technologies and ideas that the imperialists introduced. Then a new movement-mystical, materialistic, and virulently anti-Christian-began to spread among them like wildfire. The foreigners laughed at the peasants' martial-arts routines and nicknamed them "the Boxers"-never imagining that the group, with the backing of China's empress dowager, would soon terrorize the world...This acclaimed account of the Boxer Rebellion, by an Oxford-trained historian, is an important new addition to every shelf of high-quality, highly accessible history.
In December 1937, in what was then the capital of China, one of the most brutal massacres in the long annals of wartime barbarity occurred. The Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking and within weeks not only looted and burned the defenceless city, but systematically raped, tortured and murdered more than 300000 Chinese civilians.