China Beat Archive


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June 10, 2010 in The China Beat


Copyright 2010. Used by permission.


Rebecca Karl, who teaches at New York University and is known in Chinese studies circles as the author of important studies of nationalism during the final years of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) and the development of Marxist thought between the 1920s and the present, has a new book coming out soon. Titled Mao Zedong and China in the Twentieth-Century World: A Concise History, it’s being published (simultaneously in paperback and hardback editions) by Duke University Press. The publisher promises that it will provide readers with a “lively and concise historical account of Mao Zedong’s life and thought,” and it comes with advance praise from Stanford literary specialist Ban Wang and historian Delia Davin, whose many publications also include a short book about the Chinese Communist Party leader. Struck by the challenges Professor Karl has taken on, both of moving from writing for specialists to writing for general readers (that’s clearly the main target audience to her new book) and trying to cover such a big topic in a small number of pages (the book has just over 200 of them), I asked her to share her thoughts on these challenges and other subjects with followers of this blog: