This comprehensive but concise narrative of China since the eighteenth century builds its story around the delicate relationship between central government and local communities. With a nod to Ezra Pound's translation of the Chinese classic Zhongyong (The Unwobbling Pivot), Pamela Kyle Crossley argues that China's modern history has not wholly adhered to the ideal of the "unwobbling pivot", with China as a harmonious society based on principles of stability. Instead she argues that developments can be explained through China's surprising swings between centralization and decentralization, between local initiative and central authoritarianism. The author's approach is broad enough to provide a full introduction to modern Chinese history. Students new to the subject will be supported with timelines, maps, illustrations, and extensive notes to further readings, while those with a background in Chinese history will find an underlying theme in the narrative addressing long-standing interpretive issues. —Wiley-Blackwell

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