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The Boxers, China, and the World

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0742553958
ISBN-10: 0742553957
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Editorial Reviews

Review

This is an important book, representing the latest state of the art on the subject. (The China Journal)

A brilliant account. (The China Quarterly)

Several chapters will be of particular interest to specialists of colonial and imperial history. . . . These chapters, like the others in this excellent book, show that a myriad of forces, traditional and modern, local and international, came into play in that long, dry summer of 1900. (Journal Of Colonialism and Colonial History)

This book sheds fascinating new light on many hitherto-ignored aspects of the Chinese anti-Christian insurgents known as the Boxers. Equally important, though, especially in our own troubled times, is the attention that contributors pay to the actions of foreign participants in the Boxer crisis, including the consortium of foreign troops marching under eight different flags that lifted the siege of Beijing―and then quickly squandered its claim to the moral high ground by looting Chinese national treasures and carrying out brutal campaigns of reprisal. The Boxers, China, and the World is a highly original work of scholarship that provides readers with a fittingly international and surprisingly topical lens through which to view the traumatic events of 1900. (Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, University of California, Irvine; author of China's Brave New World―And Other Tales for Global Times)

The essays in this volume range from detailed explorations of the sources of this violence to broader inquiries into its global consequences, including pan-Asian sympathies in India, widespread criticism of foreign looting in the Western and Japanese press, and a common understanding that indiscriminate retribution against people resisting alien intrusions can be counterproductive. This book is of great value to students of Chinese and world history and to anyone inclined to think about history's lessons for the contemporary world. (Joseph W. Esherick, University of California, San Diego)

About the Author

Robert Bickers is professor of history at the University of Bristol and co-director of the British Inter-University China Centre. R. G. Tiedemann is senior research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Christianity in China, King's College London.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (July 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742553957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742553958
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 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: #2,952,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
"Boxers" is a standard collection of scholarly essays: 10 experts have contributed 10 essays on various aspects of the Boxer Uprising of 1900. All of the essays are well written but, as usual, some are of more interest than others depending upon the reader.

I wouldn't recommend this book to the novice as the authors presume the reader is informed about China around the time of the Boxers and with the events during the uprising. My personal favorite of the essays was "Looting and its Discontents" by James L. Hevia which concerned the plunder of Peking (Beijing) after the foreign armies defeated the Boxers and the Imperial Chinese army. It's a story of greed and retribution that indicts nearly all the foreigners -- diplomats, civilians, missionaries, and soldiers in the city at the time.

Paul Cohen has also written a good essay attempting to humanize the Boxers -- a mysterious secret sect of peasants who have always been faceless in Western literature. The allied military rule of Tianjin (Tientsin) is the subject of another brief essay, and a scholar with the intiguing name of Anand A Yang contributed an examination of an account by a Indian soldier of his participation in the fighting and looting of North China.

Other essays describe the impact of the Boxers on British foreign policy, the impact on India, and the conflict between Boxers and Christians in the countryside of China. All in all, the essays are of excellent quality and some are very interesting.

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