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
13 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  - Martin Middleton - Goodreads

This book was ok but I felt there is a bit too much information being thrown at the reader constantly, and it is quite hard to follow. I can definately see that Fenby is more of a journalist than an ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Duncan Simpson - Goodreads

Brilliant, well written and engaging history of modern China. Reads as well as a novel and gives a great understanding of the country as it is today. I might never read another book about China but, because of reading this one, I might read a lot more! 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. His books include Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the China He Lost; Tiger Head, Snake Tails: China Today, How It Got There and Where It Is Heading and The Penguin History of Modern China. He is currently China Director at the research service Trusted Sources.

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