Monday, August 31, 2015

Quick Picks: Three New/Upcoming Chinese History Books

Time for some quick picks! Here are three new or upcoming Chinese history books that have caught my eye:

Runaway Wives, Urban Crimes, and Survival Tactics in Wartime Beijing, 1937-1949 by Zhao Ma [Harvard University Asia Center, September 2015]


Women living in wartime Beijing faced many challenges, including threats from the Japanese occupational forces, poverty from political and social upheaval, and even civil war. 'Runaway Wives' uncovers the ways that women used underground networks and even criminal activity to keep themselves and their families alive.

Garden of Perfect Brightness: The Lost and Most Splendid Imperial Garden in China by Guo Daiheng [Shanghai Press, April 2016]

A look at the Old Summer Palace, built in 1707 and described as the "garden of all gardens"; the palace and its gardens, once heralded as the most beautiful in the world, were destroyed and looted by the British-French allied army in 1860.

City of Marvel and Transformation: Chang'an and Narratives of Experience in Tang Dynasty China by Linda Rui Feng [University of Hawaii Press, August 2015]

Chang'an (present day Xi'an) was the imperial capital of China during the Tang Dynasty; during its heyday, Chang'an was a thriving cultural center that inspired developments in technological, social, scientific and artistic circles. 'City of Marvel and Transformation' puts a special focus on the writings of educated men who came to the city seeking to take the civil service examinations.

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