Ian Johnson
Ian Johnson

Much praise for the essay by journalist Ian Johnson in The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China, by Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a “handle on modern history”, according to the Asian Review of Books. Ian Johnson is the author of the upcoming book The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao.

The Asian Review of Books:

The book concludes with an essay by Ian Johnson: indisputably one of the most insightful commentators on modern China, along with this volume’s editor. His chapter encourages the reader to step back from the consideration of China’s historical narrative, and to instead observe the country’s own attitude to its heritage. Johnson is, it is fair to say, uncomfortable with the nature of this relationship: “[A] country that has so completely obliterated and then recreated its past–can it be trusted?” he asks. “What eats at a country, or a people, or a civilisation, so much that remains profoundly uncomfortable with its history?”

Johnson’s essay is worth the price of admission alone, but even without its inclusion, this volume (despite its slightly unwieldy coffee-table design) would remain my recommendation as the best place to start for those who wish to get a handle on modern China.

The complete review in the Asian Review of Books.

Ian Johnson is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers´request form.

Are you looking for more experts on cultural change at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check out this list. 

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