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China is now poised to take a key role on the world stage, but in the early twentieth century the situation could not have been more different. By the 1920s, the world shaped over the last two thousand years by the legacy of the great philosopher Confucius was falling apart in the face of western imperialism and internal warfare. Mitter explores the resulting social turmoil and political promise, the devastating war against Japan in the 1940s, Communism and the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, and the new era of hope in the 1980s ended by the Tian'anmen uprising.
From one of the world's preeminent political historians, a magisterial study of political leadership around the world from the advent of parliamentary democracy to the age of Obama. All too frequently, leadership is reduced to a simple dichotomy: the strong versus the weak. Yet, there are myriad ways to exercise effective political leadership--as well as different ways to fail. We blame our leaders for economic downfalls and praise them for vital social reforms, but rarely do we question what makes some leaders successful while others falter. In this magisterial and wide-ranging survey of political leadership over the past hundred years, renowned Oxford politics professor Archie Brown challenges the widespread belief that strong leaders--meaning those who dominate their colleagues and the policy-making process--are the most successful and admirable. In reality, only a minority of political leaders will truly make a lasting difference. Though we tend to dismiss more collegial styles of leadership as weak, it is often the most cooperative leaders who have the greatest impact. Drawing on extensive research and decades of political analysis and experience, Brown illuminates the achievements, failures and foibles of a broad array of twentieth century politicians. Whether speaking of redefining leaders like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Margaret Thatcher, who expanded the limits of what was politically possible during their time in power, or the even rarer transformational leaders who played a decisive role in bringing about systemic change--Charles de Gaulle, Mikhail Gorbachev and Nelson Mandela, among them--Brown challenges our commonly held beliefs about political efficacy and strength. Overturning many of our assumptions about the twentieth century's most important figures, Brown's conclusions are both original and enlightening. The Myth of the Strong Leader compels us to reassess the leaders who have shaped our world - and to reconsider how we should choose and evaluate those who will lead us into the future.
China today is never out of the news: from international finance to human rights controversies, global coverage of its rising international presence, and the Chinese 'economic miracle'. It seems to be a country of contradictions: a peasant society with some of the world's most futuristic cities, heir to an ancient civilization that is still trying to find a modern identity. This Very Short Introduction offers the reader an entry to understanding the world's most populous nation, giving an integrated picture of modern Chinese society, culture, economy, politics, and art. In this new edition, Rana Mitter addresses China's current global position, accounting for the country's growth in global significance over the past decade. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
The early 20th-century world experienced a growth in international cooperation. Yet the dominant historical view of the period has long been one of national, military, and social divisions rather than connections. International Cooperation in the Early Twentieth Century revises this historical consensus by providing a more focused and detailed analysis of the many ways in which people interacted with each other across borders in the early decades of the 20th century. It devotes particular attention to private and non-governmental actors. Daniel Gorman focuses on international cooperation, international social movements, various forms of cultural internationalism, imperial and anti-imperial internationalism, and the growth of cosmopolitan ideas. The book incorporates a non-Western focus alongside the transatlantic core of early 20th-century internationalism. It interweaves analyses of international anti-colonial networks, ideas emanating from non-Western sites of influence such as Japan, China and Turkey, the emergence of networks of international indigenous peoples in resistance to a state-centric international system, and diaspora and transnational ethno-cultural-religious identity networks.
China today is never out of the news: from human rights controversies and the continued legacy of Tiananmen Square, to global coverage of the Beijing Olympics, and the Chinese 'economic miracle'. It seems a country of contradictions: a peasant society with some of the world's most futuristic cities, heir to an ancient civilization that is still trying to find a modern identity. This Very Short Introduction offers the reader with no previous knowledge of China a variety of ways to understand the world's most populous nation, giving a short, integrated picture of modern Chinese society, culture, economy, politics and art. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
In Rana Mitter's tense, moving and hugely important book, the war between China and Japan - one of the most important struggles of the Second World War - at last gets the masterly history it deserves Different countries give different opening dates for the period of the Second World War, but perhaps the most compelling is 1937, when the 'Marco Polo Bridge Incident' plunged China and Japan into a conflict of extraordinary duration and ferocity - a war which would result in many millions of deaths and completely reshape East Asia in ways which we continue to confront today. With great vividness and narrative drive Rana Mitter's new book draws on a huge range of new sources to recreate this terrible conflict. He writes both about the major leaders (Chiang Kaishek, Mao Zedong and Wang Jingwei) and about the ordinary people swept up by terrible times. Mitter puts at the heart of our understanding of the Second World War that it was Japan's failure to defeat China which was the key dynamic for what happened in Asia. Reviews: 'A remarkable story, told with humanity and intelligence; all historians of the second world war will be in Mitter's debt ... [he] explores this complex politics with remarkable clarity and economy ... No one could ask for a better guide than Mitter to how [the rise of modern China] began in the cauldron of the Chinese war' Richard Overy, Guardian 'Rana Mitter's history of the Sino-Japanese War is not only a very important book, it also has a wonderful clarity of thought and prose which make it a pleasure to read' Antony Beevor 'The best study of China's war with Japan written in any language ... comprehensive, thoroughly based on research, and totally non-partisan. Above all, the book presents a moving account of the Chinese people's incredible suffering ... A must read for anyone interested in the origins of China's contribution to the making of today's world' Akira Iriye About the author: Rana Mitter is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Cross College. He is the author of A Bitter Revolution: China's Struggle with the Modern World. He is a regular presenter of Night Waves on Radio 3.
Historians have long understood that the notion of "the cold war" is richly metaphorical, if not paradoxical. The conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union was a war that fell ambiguously short of war, an armed truce that produced considerable bloodshed. Yet scholars in the rapidly expanding field of Cold War studies have seldom paused to consider the conceptual and chronological foundations of the idea of the Cold War itself. In Uncertain Empire, a group of leading scholars takes up the challenge of making sense of the idea of the Cold War and its application to the writing of American history. They interrogate the concept from a wide range of disciplinary vantage points--diplomatic history, the history of science, literary criticism, cultural history, and the history of religion--highlighting the diversity of methods and approaches in contemporary Cold War studies. Animating the volume as a whole is a question about the extent to which the Cold War was an American invention. Uncertain Empire brings debates over national, global, and transnational history into focus and offers students of the Cold War a new framework for considering recent developments in the field.

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