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.
"Wasserstrom has accomplished a remarkable feat: melding the insights from deep scholarly immersion in history with an up-to-the-minute grasp on contemporary developments in China and beyond. Written in a crisp prose,...questions big and small, alarmingly complex and deceptively simple--from who Confucius was to how the Communists defeated the Nationalists and whether China was bent on world domination--are answered with aplomb and precision.... I for one am grateful to have this little book in hand when I greet the next round of fresh-faced undergraduates coming to my classes wishing to know something about 'China.'"--Haiyan Lee, Stanford University
"Wasserstrom is a sure-footed guide through the thickets of China's history and the turbo-driven landscape of its current affairs. Indispensable reading."--Andrew Ross, author of Fast Boat to China: Lessons from Shanghai
"Readers who know a fair bit about China already will be left better informed, looking at what they already knew in another light. Readers new to the subject couldn't start in a better place."--Urbanatomy.com
"Wasserstrom, a preeminent scholar of Chinese history, here provides a useful resource for those who want a greater understanding of the how and why of China's emergence as a global power."--Library Journal
“Melissa Schneider brings us an intriguing look into China's love culture.”—Natalie Tso, host of Eye on China on Radio Taiwan International
“These fascinating interviews not only reveal how some Chinese men and women are struggling to reconcile old marital norms with new sexual and relationship trends, but also shed light on the cultural origins and variability of many emotional patterns we sometimes see as universal.”—Stephanie Coontz, author of Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage
“This excellent book provides an insiders view and intimate portrait of how real Chinese people of different generations perceive love and marriage. It is an exceptionally vivid and compassionate examination of love stories in contemporary China with universal relevance.”—Eva Lingxiao Yang, journalist with China News Service
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
MELISSA MARGARET SCHNEIDER is an American couples therapist, writer, and the founder of LuvWise.com. She wrote this book while living overseas in Shenzhen, China. She currently lives in the New York City area with her husband.
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