Great themes run through this book: local differentiation and societal integration, reform and revolution, innovation and renewal, conservatism and radicalism, tradition and modernity.All relate to the fascinating dialectic of Chinese history.This comment by G. William Skinner aptly describes this pioneering volume in which twelve specialists in Chinese history discuss the great questions of history in the dramatic context of the New China of the early twentieth century.The work of young scholars from seven countries who have had access to Chinese, British, and French archives opened only in recent years, the book provides new findings that presage not only a reinterpretation of the Revolution of 1911 itself but also of the dynamic links between Imperial China and both the communist revolution of 1927-49 and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of today.
An outstanding example of historians inquiries is this collection of essays by 12 authorities, brilliantly edited by Mary Wright of Yale. Brilliant because unlike most such cooperative endeavors, the studies in this volume focus on a single major topic, China in the years around the revolution of 1911. The papers vary in scope, from a general interpretation of the origins of the warlord armies, which were to dominate Chinese political life until the mid-twenties, to a fascinating reconstruction of events hour-by-hour during the first week of the revolution in the city where it began, Wuchang. . . . This important work is bound to have a great impact on our understanding of modern China, and will surely stimulate further research in the period. New York Times Book Review
Will set a style for ten to twenty years hence by all scholars of the subject. John K. Fairbank.