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For centuries China's code of behavior was incomprehensible to Westerners, whom the Chinese viewed as irredeemable barbarians. Presenting historical events with an immediacy that makes you feel as if you were there, Hahn takes listeners through isolationist China's difficult and often costly adaptations to the invasions of Western "foreign devils" - from the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, which gave the West access to five of China's eastern ports, to the British colonization of Hong Kong, the rise of the tea trade, the Opium Wars, the arrival of Christian missionaries, and the Boxer Rebellion. Hahn also illuminates the revolutionary movement led by Sun Yat-sen, the overthrow of the Ch'ing Dynasty, the escalating tensions between the Communist and Nationalist parties, and the Japanese invasion on the eve of World War II - which Hahn witnessed firsthand. The final chapters cover the civil war, which ended with Chairman Mao's formation of the People's Republic of China and Chiang Kai-shek's retreat to Taiwan.
With an insider's knowledge of Chinese culture and politics, Hahn delivers a sharply observant audiobook that illuminates an unforgettable era in China's tumultuous past.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Wandering on 10-25-17
Excellent, Entertaining Overview. Very Well Read
I have read this history years ago, so I wanted a good general review of this era to go along with books I am reading about Japan's struggle with the West during the same period. I was well satisfied. This book is fair and well written. I love her reference to Westerners as &quot;barbarians&quot;. The narration is also excellent. It needed to be a woman's voice as the author is a woman, and one who can pronounce all the Chinese names.
One Amazon reviewer complained that in the final chapters Ms. Hahn was overly influenced by mid-20th century American anti-communism. I don't agree. On occasion Ms. Hahn descends into mild sarcasm when describing Communist &quot;re-education&quot; in the 1930s -- she describes it as brainwashing, which is not unfair -- and the over-romanticized view of the communists in some quarters of the American media during the 1930s and 40s, again not unfair. Yet her overall assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the communists and the Kuomintang is fair and accurate. There is no sense that CCP won in the end for any reason other than their inherent superiority to the KMT.
Its a pity that more of her books are not available in Audio, as many have been re-issued for Kindle.