Book Review of China at War: Triumph and Tragedy in the Emergence of the New China

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    After the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937, the Kuomintang propa-ganda department established an English-language journal entitled China at War. Whereas the journal focused almost entirely on the confrontations be-tween China and Japan, van de Ven's book by the same title does not. Instead, it takes the "war" as a collective notion, combining what have conventionally been considered as separate wars (the Sino-Japanese War, the Chinese Civil War, and the Korean War) into one process of China's struggle for survival and order. Such a broad scope transcends the division between domestic affairs and international conflicts. It presents a nuanced historical perspective, one that views China's war with Japan, and later with the United States, as being intertwined with domestic political rivalries between the Kuomintang (kmt) and the Chinese Communist Party (ccp). Rather than focusing only on the military aspects of the war(s), the book presents the complexity of warfare on multiple levels. The division between local and central institutions of power, the agony of a society in wartime, the betrayal of reluctant allies, and numer-ous contingencies all pushed the wheels of war, leaving triumph and tragedy inseparable.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)177-190
    JournalChina and Asia
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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