The Search for Modern China

The Search for Modern China

Jonathan D. Spence

Language: English

Pages: 912

ISBN: 0393307808

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"A remarkable achievement...vivid...fluent, graceful.... A publishing event."―Boston Globe

In this widely acclaimed history of modern China, Jonathan Spence achieves a fine blend of narrative richness and efficiency. Praised as "a miracle of readability and scholarly authority," (Jonathan Mirsky) The Search for Modern China offers a matchless introduction to China's history.
















troops against the rebels and occasionally inflicted defeats on them—or at least forced them to retreat or into temporary surrender. There were also semi-independent naval and military leaders, with bases in Shandong or on offshore islands, who launched damaging raids on the Manchu forces in Liaodong. And in many areas the wealthy local elites recruited and armed their own militia forces so that they could defend their estates and hometowns from rebel assaults. Emperor Chongzhen himself did try

Thus during the life of the dynasty the descendants of the Ming founder, as well as all other male children of the successive Ming emperors, had enjoyed honorific titles and lives of leisure on great estates—the prince of Fu and the prince of Gui were two such men—but they had not coexisted with aristocratic survivors of the previous Yuan dynasty (1271-1368). Similarly, after 1644, the former Ming aristocracy was not preserved. The Manchus had their own aristocracy of a kind, formed from the

quantity to those living in the West, and even today seems set apart by differences of language, custom, and attitude. Now that China has over 1 billion people within its borders, it suffers internal pressures that the rest of us can only guess at; and the swings of its political life, the switches in its cultural moods, the lurches in its economy, the fact that its stated hostility to foreign influences is so often accompanied by the flashes of a welcoming smile, all combine to keep us in a

worked in it hold other jobs at the same time; thus their salaries and official ranks derived from other, more 83 84 CONQUEST AND CONSOLIDATION conventional bureaucratic functions. Yongzheng was a remarkable tactician with a flair for—and a belief in—informal and secret structures. Dominance of those structures was, to him, the essence of power. M O R A L A U T H O R I T Y Emperor Yongzheng's interests took in more than matters of administration. He had a far-ranging concern for moral

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