The Cambridge History of China

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Cambridge University Press, 1991 - China - 1108 pages
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Volume 15 of The Cambridge History of China is the second of two volumes dealing with the People's Republic of China since its birth in 1949. The harbingers of the Cultural Revolution were analyzed in Volume 14 and Volume 15 traces a course of events still only partially understood by most Chinese. It begins by analysing the development of Mao's thought since the Communist seizure of power, and, in doing so, attempts to understand why he launched the movement. The contributors grapple with the conflict of evidence between what was said favourably about the Cultural Revolution at the time and the often diametrically opposed retrospective accounts. Volume 15, together with Volume 14, provides the most comprehensive and clearest account of how revolutionary China has developed in response to the upheavals initiated by Mao and Teng Hsiao-p'ing.

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Review: The Cambridge History of China, Volume 15: The People's Republic, Part 2: Revolutions Within the Chinese Revolution, 1966-82

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Review: The Cambridge History of China, Volume 15: The People's Republic, Part 2: Revolutions Within the Chinese Revolution, 1966-82

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About the author (1991)

Born in South Dakota, John King Fairbank attended local public schools for his early education. From there he went on first to Exeter, then the University of Wisconsin, and ultimately to Harvard, from which he received his B.A. degree summa cum laude in 1929. That year he traveled to Britain as a Rhodes Scholar. In 1932 he went to China as a teacher and after extensive travel there received his Ph.D. from Oxford University in 1936. Between 1941 and 1946, he was in government service---as a member of the Office of Strategic Services, as special assistant to the U.S. ambassador to China, and finally as director of the U.S. Information Service in China. Excepting those years, beginning in 1936, Fairbank spent his entire career at Harvard University, where he served in many positions, including Francis Lee Higginson Professor of History and director of Harvard's East Asian Research Center. Fairbank, who came to be considered one of the world's foremost authorities on modern Chinese history and Asian-West relations, was committed to reestablishing diplomatic and cultural relations with China. He was also committed to the idea that Americans had to become more conversant with Asian cultures and languages. In his leadership positions at Harvard and as president of the Association for Asian Studies and the American Historical Association, he sought to broaden the bases of expertise about Asia. At the same time, he wrote fluidly and accessibly, concentrating his work on the nineteenth century and emphasizing the relationship between China and the West. At the same time, his writings placed twentieth-century China within the context of a changed and changing global order. It was precisely this understanding that led him to emphasize the reestablishment of American links with China. More than anyone else, Fairbank helped create the modern fields of Chinese and Asian studies in America. His influence on American understanding of China and Asia has been profound.

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