China's Good War: How World War II Is Shaping a New Nationalism


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$27.95  $25.71
Belknap Press
Publish Date
5.7 X 8.3 X 1.2 inches | 1.05 pounds
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About the Author

Rana Mitter is the author of several books, including A Bitter Revolution: China's Struggle with the Modern World and Forgotten Ally: China's World War II, 1937-1945, named a Book of the Year in The Economist and Financial Times. He has commented on Asia for the BBC, NPR, CNN, New York Times, History Channel, and the World Economic Forum at Davos. Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford, he is also a Fellow of the British Academy and an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.


An understanding of China today requires a grasp of its history through its own eyes, including the unfolding national narrative on the Second World War. Mitter confirms his status as one of the world's leading sinologists in this lucid work as he explores fresh intellectual terrain, awakening us to China's radically different perspectives on critical wartime events. This book will unsettle much received wisdom in the West on the war whose outcome determined much of the current global order.--Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia and President of the Asia Society Policy Institute
A brilliant and profoundly researched work. Mitter demonstrates that alone among major combatant nations, China's official historical narrative of World War II has undergone radical swings not just on the basic facts, but also on how memory serves (or not) to validate China's governments. He provides timely and nuanced insights into how war memory today is deployed by both the Chinese government and the Chinese people.--Richard B. Frank, author of Tower of Skulls: A History of the Asia-Pacific War
A breathtaking study of the relationship between history, nationalism, and collective memory by a China eager to assert its new moral and international standing in the world. In a sweeping yet detailed chronicle of the ways in which China is refashioning a new wartime narrative, Mitter provides extraordinary insights into the inner workings of its rise as a global power. For anyone interested in understanding how Chinese leaders are laying the groundwork for their claim as guarantor of the international order, this brilliant book is an absolute must-read.--Sheila Miyoshi Jager, author of Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea
Written with the flair we have come to expect from esteemed China historian Rana Mitter, China's Good War provides indispensable and timely context for the upsurge in Chinese nationalism now remaking Sino-foreign relations.--Karl Gerth, author of Unending Capitalism: How Consumerism Negated China's Communist Revolution
Mitter shows movingly what Chinese people sing about and weep about when they turn their minds to the devastating contours of the Second World War. Equally at home in provincial museums, internet chat rooms, and China's foreign ministry, he is a sure guide to China's ongoing reassessment of the war and postwar. His brilliant account shows how nation has replaced class in the moral narrative China has constructed to frame its national project.--Jay Winter, author of War beyond Words: Languages of Remembrance from the Great War to the Present
Mitter chronicles the changing tides of official wartime narrative in China...China's Good War is clear that national narratives are rarely based on historical scholarship, but rather on external politics.--Paul French"South China Morning Post" (09/05/2020)
A fascinating read that examines China's growing nationalism with a longer lens than most.--Alec Ash"The Wire China" (09/20/2020)
Fascinating...An excellent guide to Chinese historiography...Mitter has written an important book that should serve to counter some of the cruder ways in which China is being misrepresented in the United States.--Michael Burleigh"Literary Review" (10/01/2020)
One of Britain's foremost historians of modern China...A detailed and fascinating account of how the Chinese leadership's strategy has evolved across eras--and how its recent overtures to regional and international audiences have corresponded to shifts in domestic education and internal propaganda about World War II...China's Good War is at its most interesting when probing Beijing's motives for undertaking such an ambitious retooling of its past in the first place.--Howard W. French"Wall Street Journal" (10/14/2020)
Excellent...[By] one of the world's leading Sinologists...Allow[s] the reader--and the next US administration--to prepare for what China may do next.--James Kynge"Financial Times" (10/20/2020)
As China grows more powerful, the meaning of the war is changing. Rana Mitter argues that China's reassessment of the World War II years is central to its newfound confidence abroad and to mounting nationalism at home.-- (10/09/2020)