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Speaking of Profit: Bao Shichen and Reform in Nineteenth-Century China by William T. Rowe (review)

Speaking of Profit: Bao Shichen and Reform in Nineteenth-Century China by William T. Rowe (review) 228 China Review International: Vol. 24, No. 3, 2017 William T. Rowe. Speaking of Profit: Bao Shichen and Reform in Nineteenth-Century China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2018.x, 220pp. Hardcover $39.95, ISBN 978-0-674-98380-9. William T. Rowe’s new book is an important addition to recent works focusing on early nineteenth-century China, an area that, in Rowe’s own words, “attracted much less scholarly attention” than the “prosperous high-Qing age” (p. 1). Rowe joins the authors of those works in presenting this period as an important time of transition, not because it marked the beginning of an inexorable decline of the Qing dynasty but because it marked a new set of political and economic preoccupations that inspired competent officials and emperors—rather than apathetic and irresolute ones—to launch a new style of reforms. As Rowe argues, the early nineteenth century should instead be seen as “the transition era into modern Chinese history” (p. 9). In this book, Rowe’s main goal is to “explore the complexity of China’s early nineteenth-century crisis, and the anxieties it generated, through a detailed examination of the role of a single well-placed observer, Bao Shichen,” “a recognized ‘expert,’ consulted in a broad but defined range of policy areas” http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png China Review International University of Hawai'I Press

Speaking of Profit: Bao Shichen and Reform in Nineteenth-Century China by William T. Rowe (review)

China Review International , Volume 24 (3) – Aug 15, 2019

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9367

Abstract

228 China Review International: Vol. 24, No. 3, 2017 William T. Rowe. Speaking of Profit: Bao Shichen and Reform in Nineteenth-Century China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2018.x, 220pp. Hardcover $39.95, ISBN 978-0-674-98380-9. William T. Rowe’s new book is an important addition to recent works focusing on early nineteenth-century China, an area that, in Rowe’s own words, “attracted much less scholarly attention” than the “prosperous high-Qing age” (p. 1). Rowe joins the authors of those works in presenting this period as an important time of transition, not because it marked the beginning of an inexorable decline of the Qing dynasty but because it marked a new set of political and economic preoccupations that inspired competent officials and emperors—rather than apathetic and irresolute ones—to launch a new style of reforms. As Rowe argues, the early nineteenth century should instead be seen as “the transition era into modern Chinese history” (p. 9). In this book, Rowe’s main goal is to “explore the complexity of China’s early nineteenth-century crisis, and the anxieties it generated, through a detailed examination of the role of a single well-placed observer, Bao Shichen,” “a recognized ‘expert,’ consulted in a broad but defined range of policy areas”

Journal

China Review InternationalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Aug 15, 2019

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