China was afflicted by a brutal succession of conflicts through muchof the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Yet there has never beenclear understanding of how wartime suffering defined the nation andshaped its people.
In Beyond Suffering, a distinguished group of historians ofmodern China look beyond the geopolitical aspects of war to explore itssocial, institutional, and cultural dimensions, from child rearing andeducation to massacres and warlord mutinies. Though accounts ofwar-inflicted suffering are often fragmented or politically motivated,the authors show that they are crucial to understanding the multiplefronts on which wars are fought, experienced, and remembered. Thechapters in Part 1, “Society at War,” reveal how war andmilitarization can both structure and destabilize society, while thosein Part 2, “Institutional Engagement,” show howinstitutions and the people they represent can become pawns in largerpower struggles. Lastly, Part 3, “Memory andRepresentation,” examines the various media, monuments, andsocial controls by which war has been memorialized.
Although many of the conflicts described in BeyondSuffering barely registered against the sweeping backdrop ofChinese history, such conflicts bring us closer to understanding war,militarism, and suffering in modern China.
Uniformly well-researched and written, Beyond Suffering is a book that I would use in my graduate seminars. This important work covers a wide range of topics and issues and, since few studies deal with the impact of warfare and militarization on modern China, it should find a receptive audience.
This is a very powerful volume, which sheds light on a variety of topics that scholarship, particularly in English, does not sufficiently cover – the wartime bombing of China, Russian imperialism in northeastern China, and the makeup of the Nationalist army during wartime. With its focus on the social history of warfare in China, Beyond Suffering makes a major contribution to the field.
James Flath is an associate professor in theDepartment of History at the University of Western Ontario and authorof The Cult of Happiness: Nianhua, Art, and History in Rural NorthChina. Norman Smith is an associate professor inthe Department of History at the University of Guelph and author ofResisting Manchukuo: Chinese Women Writers and the JapaneseOccupation.
Contributors: Timothy Brook, Blaine Chiasson, JamesFlath, Colin Green, Chang Jui-te, Diana Lary, Bernard Hung-kay Luk,Edward A. McCord, M. Colette Plum, Norman Smith, Michael Szonyi,Alexander Woodside, and Victor Zatsepine.
Introduction / James Flath and Norman Smith
Part 1: Society at War
1 Writing andRemembering the Battle against Opiates in Manchukuo / NormanSmith
2 War,Schools, China, Hong Kong: 1937-49 / Bernard Hung-kay Luk
3 BombsDon’t Discriminate? Class, Gender, and Ethnicity in theAir-Raid-Shelter Experiences of the Wartime Chongqing Population /Chang Jui-te
4 Militarization and Jinmen (Quemoy) Society, 1949-92 / MichaelSzonyi
Part 2: Institutional Engagement
5 TheBlagoveshchensk Massacre of 1900: The Sino-Russian War and GlobalImperialism / Victor Zatsepine
6 Victims andVictimizers: Warlord Soldiers and Mutinies in Republican China /Edward A. McCord
7 Turning BadIron into Polished Steel: Whampoa and the Rehabilitation of the ChineseSoldier / Colin Green
8 Orphans inthe Family: Family Reform and Children’s Citizenship during theAnti-Japanese War, 1937-45 / M. Colette Plum
Part 3: Memory and Representation
9 ControllingSoldiers: The Memory Scars of Late Imperial China / AlexanderWoodside
10 Chinese Savages andChinese Saints: Russians and Chinese Remember and Forget the BoxerUprising in 1920s China / Blaine Chiasson
11 Setting Moon and RisingNationalism: Lugou Bridge as Monument and Memory / JamesFlath
12 War and Remembering:Memories of China at War / Diana Lary
Arming the Chinese
The Western Armaments Trade in Warlord China, 1920-28, Second Edition
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