In its period of slow decline from the late 18th into the early 20th century and throughout its 20th century revolution, one of the most important problems facing individual Chinese and China as a nation was choosing appropriate political, social, cultural, and economic identities as contexts and situations changed. This documentary history of 20th century China begins with the turn-of-the-century Boxer uprising to set the stage for understanding the choices at stake for 20th century Chinese. It then focuses on the always-dramatic choices of identity that have continually confronted the Chinese. In many cases these choices have meant life or death. Above all, this is a story of the people whose choices propelled modern Chinese history. It is a dramatic tale, often bloody and violent, alternately soaring with hope and plunging into bleak despair. It compels our interest because of its importance for the world today; because it is one of world history's greatest revolutions; and because it provides an extraordinarily interesting study of the processes that an ancient culture undergoes in transforming itself into that which we call "modern."
Twentieth-Century China: A History in Documents uses an exceptional range of primary sources, including government edicts, political cartoons, poetry, political manifestos, essays, fiction, magazine covers and advertisements, wills, trial transcripts, speeches, statistics, press releases, and even Chinese rock lyrics. The entire book is profusely illustrated with graphics that themselves serve as documents, and there is also a picture essay. Back matter will include a chronology, further reading, and index.