China Review International: Vol. 16, No. 4, 2009 Xiaobing Li. A History of the Modern Chinese Army. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2007. xvi, 413 pp. Hardcover $39.95, isbn 978-0-8131-2438-4. This well-written, broad overview of Chinese modern military history provides an interesting and useful approach to understanding the domestic and geopolitical forces that have shaped China's military forces. While there are sufficient details to make Li's points, those seeking a more detailed look at wars, battles, organizations, and generals will need to look elsewhere, as the author clearly acknowledges.1 Structurally, the book is well done. The flow is logical and well paced. The maps and illustrations are appropriate and helpful. Solid scholarship, in terms of seventy pages of endnotes, an extensive bibliography, and a useful index, mark the book as a serious and useful addition to a library on the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Li's primary thesis is that to understand how the PLA has evolved, we must understand the social, economic, and domestic politics of China as well as the more traditional--and in his opinion more simplistic--model of change as a response to modernity and geopolitics.2 Throughout the book, he uses a number of vignettes of individual
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jul 13, 2009
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