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Tianchao de bengkui: Yapian zhanzheng zai yanjiu (review)

Tianchao de bengkui: Yapian zhanzheng zai yanjiu (review) Mao Haijian . Tianchao de bengkui: Yapian zhanzheng zai yanjiu : (The collapse of the Celestial Empire: A reanalysis of the Opium War). Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 2005. 600 pp. Paperback 32.00 RMB, ISBN 7-108-02294-x. Benedetto Croce (1866­1952) famously stated that "every true history is contemporary history," suggesting that the representation of history reflects the circumstances and attitudes of historians in their contemporary times.1 Chen Yinke (1890­1969), probably the most revered historian in twentieth-century China, advocated historical writing with "well-informed sympathy," that is, a thorough understanding of the historical context.2 These two seemingly contrasting dicta by Croce and Chen encapsulate the dilemma confronting every historian: Can a historical narrative be historical and contemporary at the same time? Mao Haijian's Tianchao de bengkui: Yapian zhanzheng zai yanjiu suggests an affirmative answer. While another leading Chinese historian, Luo Zhitian, sees the inherent conflict between the historical and the contemporary in Mao's book, this reviewer finds that Mao's contemporary concerns do not detract from his historical scholarship.3 In this weighty work of more than 400,000 Chinese characters, empirical contexualization with "well-informed sympathy" underpins Mao's arguments, which are of both historical and contemporary significance. In unprecedented detail, Mao reconstructs the history of the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png China Review International University of Hawai'I Press

Tianchao de bengkui: Yapian zhanzheng zai yanjiu (review)

China Review International , Volume 15 (4) – Feb 24, 2008

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University of Hawai'I Press
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Copyright © University of Hawai'I Press
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1527-9367
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Abstract

Mao Haijian . Tianchao de bengkui: Yapian zhanzheng zai yanjiu : (The collapse of the Celestial Empire: A reanalysis of the Opium War). Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 2005. 600 pp. Paperback 32.00 RMB, ISBN 7-108-02294-x. Benedetto Croce (1866­1952) famously stated that "every true history is contemporary history," suggesting that the representation of history reflects the circumstances and attitudes of historians in their contemporary times.1 Chen Yinke (1890­1969), probably the most revered historian in twentieth-century China, advocated historical writing with "well-informed sympathy," that is, a thorough understanding of the historical context.2 These two seemingly contrasting dicta by Croce and Chen encapsulate the dilemma confronting every historian: Can a historical narrative be historical and contemporary at the same time? Mao Haijian's Tianchao de bengkui: Yapian zhanzheng zai yanjiu suggests an affirmative answer. While another leading Chinese historian, Luo Zhitian, sees the inherent conflict between the historical and the contemporary in Mao's book, this reviewer finds that Mao's contemporary concerns do not detract from his historical scholarship.3 In this weighty work of more than 400,000 Chinese characters, empirical contexualization with "well-informed sympathy" underpins Mao's arguments, which are of both historical and contemporary significance. In unprecedented detail, Mao reconstructs the history of the

Journal

China Review InternationalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Feb 24, 2008

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