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Strangers on the Western Front: Chinese Workers in the Great War Hardcover – March 20, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (March 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674049993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674049994
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,167,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


This is the first comprehensive study of the roughly 140,000 Chinese laborers who worked in France during the Great War. Filled with rich details and based on extensive archival research, the book adds immeasurably to the literature on the war, international migrations, racism, and cross-cultural encounters. Written clearly and with a wonderful eye for the telling anecdote, the book will establish Xu as among the foremost scholars of modern Chinese and international history. (Akira Iriye, Harvard University)

A compelling narrative of a neglected episode in the global history of the Great War. Xu tells a new story with energy and verve, as he illuminates the nature of cultural exchange in the war zone, with broad ramifications for the future of China in the twentieth century and beyond. (Jay Winter, Yale University)

About the Author

Xu Guoqi is Professor of History at the University of Hong Kong.

More About the Author

Professor Xu Guoqi was born in China to a poor peasant's family in Anhui province during Mao's fatal 1960s and received Ph. D in history from Harvard University. He has taught in both China and USA and is currently (tenured) full professor of History at the University of Hong Kong. As a leading scholar of modern China and international history, his research has always focused on significant but ignored issues about China's internationalization and search for new national identity and place in the world system. Professor Xu's most recent book "Strangers on the Western Front" explains how 140,000 Chinese laborers who went to Europe during the First World War played an important role in China's national development and remaking Western civilization. His book "Olympic Dreams" examines how Chinese have used sports for diplomacy, political legitimacy, and internationalization. This book received academic excellence award from Chinese Historians in the United States, Inc. and was chosen as the best book of 2008 by International Society of Olympic Historians. Professor Xu's book "China and the Great War" was the first book to address the crucial questions about China's role in the Great War and role of the Great War in making modern China. This book was translated into Chinese and was published by Shanghai Sanlian Shudian in its prestigious classic series in 2008. Professor Xu is currently writing a book for Harvard University Press tentatively titled "Chinese and Americans: a cultural and international history."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So far I am enjoying the text, but now that I've come to the end of Chapter 4 in the Kindle version where there should be dozens of photographs, but instead it says "To view this image, refer to the print version of this title], I am really upset. If I had known about this I would have ordered the print version. As it is I wish I could get a refund and order the print version instead.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Bruce Scott on November 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a book about the Chinese and their contribution to the allies effort in WW1, this is it!

It was only with help I was able to find this book. However the hunt was worth it. This is an informative book about what is a little known subject; the Chinese and their part in WW1. The book is more than just a history of the Chinese workers during WW1. It discusses motivation and point of view of not only the Chinese but all the other parties involved. It delves into who did what and why. The book even discusses why so little is known about the Chinese in WW1 and the reasons for the secrecy. The book is very thorough in it's presentation.

This book is well written and worth buying. Because it's the only book I have found on the subject, I am not able to base my opinion by comparing it to other sources. However bearing that in mind, I find this book to be exactly what I was looking for.

Please help me. I hate reading only one book and having only one point of view on a subject. If you know of another book on this topic, please use the comments to inform me of the title. It would be greatly appreciated!
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