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Chinese Medicine in Early Communist China, 1945-1963: A Medicine of Revolution (Needham Research Institute Series)

5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415345125
ISBN-10: 041534512X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Kim Taylor's book, Chinese Medicine in Early Communist China, is a gratifying addition to the list of genuinely new historical studies.' - China Quarterly

'Taylor has written a significant work thath makes real contributions to our understanding of changing pedagogic and therapeutic practices in Chinese medicine.' - China Journal

'The first coherent analysis of non-"Western" medicine in the People's Republic ... a welcome contribution to a timely topic, of high academic standard and succinctly written in accessible language.' - Asian Affairs

What Taylor offers is a dense descriptive investigation illuminating the
dimensions of political rhetoric within the processes of the development and
canonization of medical knowledge in the early years of the People’s Republic of
China.
- Angelika C. Messner

About the Author

Kim Taylor is an affiliated scholar at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge. Her research interests include the history of disease, medicine and the imperial world and nineteenth and twentieth-century Chinese medicine.
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Product Details

  • Series: Needham Research Institute Series
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (January 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 041534512X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415345125
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,465,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
For the past several decades, westerners have been exposed to the great "promise" of what has been termed "traditional Chinese medicine," (TCM). Kim Taylor's book is a thorough, readable, dispassionate and historical account of the evolution of this great charade. TCM is convincingly shown to be a modern invention, one that is being rejected by the modern Chinese, even as has been embraced by some westerners who have bought into the concept. It is mandatory reading for anyone with an interest in the field.
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Format: Hardcover
Dr. Taylor has put together one of the most important books on "traditional" Chinese "medicine" in English. TCM has been creeping into the public consciousness, insidiously at first and now more blatantly than ever. TCM is portrayed as an ancient system of medical precepts dating back thousands of years, perhaps the oldest continually used therapeutic modality. This appeal to antiquity, combined with a bit of orientalist mystique has made it very appealing and increasingly popular outside of China. This book is a brilliantly researched treatise on the true origins of TCM. The upshot is that it's definitely not traditional and it's definitely Chinese.

A mishmash of folk traditions based on humoral philosophical precepts that have more in common with Aleister Crowley or Arthur Waite than with Louis Pasteur or Noguchi Hideyo, TCM turns out to be little more than a Party creation. TCM is a purely modern fabrication. A reasonable western analogue would be to take the works of Hippocrates and Galen, treated them as the be all end all of medical knowledge and then built a medical system out of them, calling it "Traditional Western Medicine".

The core argument of Taylor's book is that TCM really isn't all that traditional. China was bereft of a functional medical system after over two decades of civil war and foreign occupation. An entire generation grew up under a grossly damaged medical infrastructure. In an effort to provide basic medical services in an act of sheer desperation the Chinese government was was forced to turn to the various herbalists, bonesetters and shamans that practiced folk medicine in the countryside. There were a handful of scientifically trained personnel on hand but their number was vanishingly small at the time.
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Format: Hardcover
TCM is misunderstood. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is 60 years old (Taylor, 2005). TCM aims to synthesise aspects of so-called traditional Chinese medical ideas and practices with scientific methodology. Chinese/western, TCM/WM, traditional/modern are thus false dichotomies and 'TCM is different to western medicine (whatever "it" is) and therefore misunderstood...yet in some cases supported by it' is not valid.
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