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China in the 21st Century (What Everyone Needs to Know)by Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Synopses & Reviews
“The ugly wife is a treasure at home” is not just an idle expression in China. For centuries, Chinese marriage involved matchmakers, child brides, dowries, and concubines, until the Peoples Republic of China was established by Mao Zedong and his Communist Party in 1949. Initially encouraging citizens to reject traditional arranged marriages and wed for love, the party soon spurned ”the sin of putting love first,” fearful that romantic love would distract good Communists from selflessly carrying out the States agenda. Under Mao, the party established the power to approve or reject proposed marriages, to dictate where couples would live, and to determine if they would live together. By the 1960s and 1970s, romantic love had become a counterrevolutionary act punishable by “struggle sessions” or even imprisonment. The importance of Chinese sons, however, did not wane during Maos thirty-year regime. As such, in a world where nobody spoke of love, 99 percent of young women still married.
The Ugly Wife Is a Treasure at Home draws the reader into the world of love in Communist China through the personal memories of those who endured the Cultural Revolution and the generations that followed. This collection of intimate and remarkable stories gives readers a rare view of Chinese history, social customs, and Communism from the perspective of todays ordinary citizens.
The need to understand this global giant has never been more pressing: China is constantly in the news, yet conflicting impressions abound. Within one generation, China has transformed from an impoverished, repressive state into an economic and political powerhouse. In China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know, Jeffrey Wasserstrom provides cogent answers to the most urgent questions regarding the newest superpower and offers a framework for understanding its meteoric rise.
Focusing his answers through the historical legacies--Western and Japanese imperialism, the Mao era, and the massacre near Tiananmen Square--that largely define China's present-day trajectory, Wasserstrom introduces readers to the Chinese Communist Party, the building boom in Shanghai, and the environmental fall-out of rapid Chinese industrialization. He also explains unique aspects of Chinese culture such as the one-child policy, and provides insight into how Chinese view Americans.
Wasserstrom reveals that China today shares many traits with other industrialized nations during their periods of development, in particular the United States during its rapid industrialization in the 19th century. Finally, he provides guidance on the ways we can expect China to act in the future vis-
About the Author
Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom is Chancellor's Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. His previous books include Global Shanghai, China's Brave New World, and Twentieth-Century China.
Table of Contents
Part I: Historical Legacies
1. Schools of Thought
2. Imperial China
3. Revolutions and REvolutionaries
4. From Mao to Now
5. U.S.-China Misunderstandings
6. The Future
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