The Penguin History of Modern China: The Fall and Rise of a Great Power, 1850-2008

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Allen Lane, Jan 1, 2008 - China - 762 pages
7 Reviews
In the second half of the 19th century, China appeared as the sick man of Asia, rocked by recurrent revolts and huge natural disasters, ruled by an anachronistic imperial system and humiliated by foreign invasions. Karl Marx saw it as bound to disintegrate, like 'any mummy carefully preserved in a hermetically sealed coffin'.
The first half of the 20th century was even worse, culminating in fourteen years of invasion by Japan, four years of civil war and three decades of chaotic, oppressive rule by Mao Zedong that killed tens of millions. Now, at the start of the 21st century, China is a major global force, booming economically and confident that it holds the keys to a future in which it will rival the United States.
It is impossible to understand modern China without understanding the country's terrible recent past and Jonathan Fenby's magnificent new book is the essential work. The Penguin History of Modern China is both a brilliant narrative, crammed with surprising and interesting stories, and a profound study of the nature of political power and its abuse.

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Review: The Penguin History Of Modern China: The Fall And Rise Of A Great Power, 1850 - 2008

User Review  - Dave Hazzan - Goodreads

An excellent overview, though I didn't think the Tiananmen Massacre required three whole chapters, almost the same amount given to the Cultural Revolution. Read full review

Review: The Penguin History Of Modern China: The Fall And Rise Of A Great Power, 1850 - 2008

User Review  - Tom - Goodreads

Very hard to follow at first, but from World War II onwards became compelling. It's a bleak read though and feels at times like an unrelenting catalogue of human suffering. Read full review



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About the author (2008)

Jonathan Fenby, CBE, has been the editor of the Observer and the South China Morning Post.nbsp; His books include Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the China He Lost and Dealing with the Dragon: A Year in the New Hong Kong.nbsp; He is currently Editor-in-Chief and China Editor of the analytical service, Trusted Sources. nbsp;

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