The Asian Review of Books:
The book concludes with an essay by Ian Johnson: indisputably one of the most insightful commentators on modern China, along with this volume’s editor. His chapter encourages the reader to step back from the consideration of China’s historical narrative, and to instead observe the country’s own attitude to its heritage. Johnson is, it is fair to say, uncomfortable with the nature of this relationship: “[A] country that has so completely obliterated and then recreated its past–can it be trusted?” he asks. “What eats at a country, or a people, or a civilisation, so much that remains profoundly uncomfortable with its history?”
The complete review in the Asian Review of Books.Johnson’s essay is worth the price of admission alone, but even without its inclusion, this volume (despite its slightly unwieldy coffee-table design) would remain my recommendation as the best place to start for those who wish to get a handle on modern China.
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