Top positive review
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A truly remarkable and unique book
on March 16, 2000
This book by Spence is a remarkable and unique description of the Chinese political and social revolution that took place from the end days of the Empire until decades into the PRC. Instead of focusing on already well documented and researched historical figures such as Sun Yatsen and Mao Zedong, Spence provides us the opportunity to look at the "other" figures that greatly shaped the transformation of China yet never heard of by most people. Figures such as Lu Xun, Ding Ling, Hu Shi, Chen Duxiu, Li Dazhao, etc...Spence does focus a lot on names and dates as the reviewer below notes, but it's not something people should cringe about. Spence's main goal was to focus on individual ideas and the transformation of intellectual thought and this, I thought, was acheived very well. One thing I have a problem with is that Spence focuses almost exclusively from the 1890's to the early 1930's. The last 50 years of intellectual thought which this book claim to cover is very sparse and almost non-existant, and I guess either the author overextended himself or probably because possessing intellectual thought during the PRC era was not very conducive to one's health. Anyway, this book is nevertheless an excellent source for understanding Chinese poltical and social thought during the early 20th century.