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Collaboration: Japanese Agents and Local Elites in Wartime China Paperback – March 31, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0674023987 ISBN-10: 0674023986

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (March 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674023986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674023987
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,158,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A fascinating book that offers a wealth of material on issues and events that are not well known. The prose is informal and engaging, bringing the reader into the problems Brook faced in researching such a sensitive topic. The stories he explores are part both of a distinctive Chinese history and a common (and difficult) history of conquest and rule in the twentieth century. (R. Bin Wong, Director, UCLA Asia Institute)

Brook has written a very rich study, drawing on exceptional primary sources, that brings forward new facts and deals with burning issues. (Marie-Claire Bergère, author of Sun Yat-sen)

Brook has with great care taken up the sensitive topic of Chinese collaboration with the Japanese conquerors during the Sino-Japanese War--a subject that the Chinese are still hesitant to address. His study concentrates on local collaboration in the Yangtze delta region in Shanghai's hinterland, avoiding the more shocking cases of puppet regimes in north and northeast China and the 'national government' in Nanjing. China, unlike France after World War II, had no chance to work out the moral and psychological issues related to collaboration, and even today outrage at Japanese atrocities obscures questions of Chinese collaboration. Brook builds his thoughtful analysis on Japanese archival documents, Chinese memoirs, and interviews. By concentrating on the local level, he makes vivid the personal relationships between Chinese and Japanese administrators as they dealt with day-to-day problems. He concludes that there was no shortage of Chinese elites ready to work for the Japanese, but that the relationship remained complicated and tense. (Lucian Pye Foreign Affairs 2005-05-01)

[A] finely researched and subtly nuanced study of collaboration in the Lower Yangtze Valley during the initial year of the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-45... What is remarkable is that Professor Brook has uncovered from both the Chinese and Japanese sides archival and memoir literature of a quality that allows him to present case studies that illuminate the ambiguities and complexities of collaboration, not to mention the essential mechanics of how it was sought and arranged...This work is not only a major contribution to the history of the Sino-Japanese War and that of modern China; it also makes an invaluable addition to the comparative history of wartime collaboration through recounting the Chinese experience of survival under the occupation state. (David P. Barrett Chinese Historical Review 2005-09-01)

Timothy Brook's superb book is an example of the doing and writing of history at its best...In addition to painting a compelling picture of the multileveled and multidirectional complexity and ambiguity of politics and society under the occupation, Brook's work is studded with notable insights...Brook's writing style is at the same time urbane and engaging. In sum, this is an excellent study and a great read as well. (R. Keith Schoppa American Historical Review 2005-12-01)

Timothy Brook's study of wartime collaboration between Chinese local elites and Japanese army agents is a welcome and necessary part of the new historical thinking about wartime China...Brook's book is a meticulously researched, subtly argued, and courageous study of a still delicate topic. It will be of value to all readers who wish to explore the dynamics of the 1937-45 Sino-Japanese War in more detail, and adds depth and maturity to a field that has sometimes seemed the prisoner of the type of nationalist paradigms that Brook seeks to undermine. (Rana Mitter International History Review)

Timothy Brook has produced a superb book about the vexed problem of collaboration...Of all the studies of collaboration—or those that touch on it—in East Asian studies, Brook’s provides us with the most interesting perspective. One of the book’s great strengths is the clear and methodical way in which it proceeds through its historical investigation. Brook hews closely to his principal sources and texts, which he both utilizes and interrogates. He cross-examines Chinese and Japanese, collaborative and denunciatory, occupier and resistor texts, often with regard to the same phenomenon, if not the same event or person. Yet Brook is sufficiently a stylist that this procedure rarely lapses into a dry, judicial mode of inquiry. At the same time, the conclusions he draws feel remarkably faithful to his methodology. (Prasenjit Duara The China Journal)

Review

A fascinating book that offers a wealth of material on issues and events that are not well known. The prose is informal and engaging, bringing the reader into the problems Brook faced in researching such a sensitive topic. The stories he explores are part both of a distinctive Chinese history and a common (and difficult) history of conquest and rule in the twentieth century. (R. Bin Wong, Director, UCLA Asia Institute) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback
I've enjoyed this at several different level so I will review this book from different perspective: Chinese history, historiography, lessons for the US current military involvement overseas and spiritually as a Christian.
In terms of Chinese history, this book is on a time period and events that few Americans know about let alone understand. Way before America was attacked on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, Japan has already been waging war and spreading its imperialism for decades. This book is about events of Japan’s invasion of China during the 1930s from the Shanghai area to Nanking, and it explores what mainstream history have not focus much on: the subject of the book being Chinese collaborators with the Japanese. If the saying is true that “history is written by those who win,” then the implication from this must also be true: mainstream’s popular historical narrative will often leave out details it would rather forget. It’s easy to see in pop cultural memory that the population of China “resisted” the Japanese before and during the Japanese invasion of China before and during World War Two, but that’s not always the case as this book accurately portray. In order to survive in an occupied China one has to acknowledge the political realities of Japanese control. Currently the history of the Japanese invasion of China is overshadowed by the great work, “The Rape of Nanking,” which documents extensively the incredible atrocity of the Japanese Army against Chinese civilians, and it’s easy to have the framework of the victimization of China overshadow the reality on the ground of what happened on the ground during occupation when some was trying to survive by cooperating with the Japanese (that is not to deny the realities of victims and the heinous crimes that occurred).
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