In a special event co-sponsored by the IWP, Jeffrey Wasserstrom will talk about his new edited book, The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand this rising superpower on the verge of what promises to be the 'Chinese century, ' this book introduces readers to important but often overlooked events in China's past, such as the bloody Taiping Civil War (1850-1864), which had a death toll far higher than the roughly contemporaneous American Civil War. It also helps readers see more familiar landmarks in Chinese history in new ways, such as the Opium War (1839-1842), the Boxer Uprising of 1900, the rise to power of the Chinese Communist Party in 1949, and the Tiananmen protests and Beijing Massacre of 1989. This is one of the first major efforts to come to terms with the broad sweep of modern Chinese history, taking readers from the origins of modern China through the dramatic events of the last few years (the Beijing Games, the financial crisis, and China's rise to global economic pre-eminence) which have so fundamentally altered Western views of China and China's place in the world.
Jeffrey Wasserstrom is Chancellor's Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine, and Editor of the Journal of Asian Studies. He will be in Iowa to visit the Hoover library as part of his research on Herbert and Lou Hoover’s China Years. A co-founder of and contributing editor to the influential China Beat blog (2008-2012), he is a regular contributor to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and he co-edits the Asia section of the Los Angeles Review of Books. A member of the Board of Directors of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, he has been traveling to China regularly since the 1980s.