The Search for Modern China by Jonathan D. Spence

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Synopsis

Covers over 4 centuries of Chinese history, from the waning days of the once-glorious Ming Dynasty to Deng Xiao-Ping's bloody suppression of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. Through the ideas and emotions of its reformist Confucian scholars, its poets, novelists, artists and its visionary students, we see a culture struggling to define itself as Chinese and modern. Through the actions of the great Qing emperors and the dominant figures of this century - Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-Shek, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiao-Ping - we see a state struggling to establish harmony within, and its autonomy in the world. Through the daily work of survival and their collective bursts of rebellion and revolution - 1644, 1850, 1911, 1949, 1989 - we see the Chinese people struggling to remake their lives.
 

About Jonathan D. Spence

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Jonathan D. Spence was born in England and received his B.A. from Cambridge University. In 1966 he received his Ph.D. from Yale University and has been a professor of Chinese history there since that time. Spence has won a variety of major fellowships and has served as visiting professor at Belfast's Queens University, Princeton University, and Beijing University. He employs a distinctive writing and historical style, weaving together various kinds of materials to fashion new forms of historical narrative. The best examples of his unique style are The Death of Woman Wang (1979) and The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci. In his works, Spence provides a uniquely accessible vision of late imperial China. His writings have won numerous awards and prizes. The Gate of Heavenly Peace (1982) won two awards---the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Henry D. Vursell Memorial Award of the American Academy-Institute of Arts and Letters.
 
Published April 1, 1990 by W W Norton & Co Inc. 876 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Travel. Non-fiction

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Moving from the Ming dynasty through the Manchus, the Revolution, the Kuomintang, and on through Tiananmen Square with an unparalleled combination of erudition, vision, sweep, and grace, Spence integrates a formidable amount of information about politics, culture, religion, land use, lineage patt...

May 18 1990 | Read Full Review of The Search for Modern China

Publishers Weekly

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Spence advocates democracy in China and presents contemporary views of its oppressive history, including Chiang Kai-Shek's fascist supporters and the bloodbath known as the Cultural Revolution.

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