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History China

Yuan Shikai

A Reappraisal

by (author) Patrick Fuliang Shan

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2018
China, Political
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2018
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  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2018
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Yuan Shikai (1859–1916) has been both hailed as China’s George Washington for his role in the country’s transition from empire to republic and condemned as a counter-revolutionary. Yuan Shikai: A Reappraisal sheds new light on the controversial history of this talented administrator and modernizer who endeavoured to establish a new dynasty while serving as the first president of the republic, eventually declaring himself emperor. Drawing on untapped primary sources and recent scholarship, Patrick Fuliang Shan offers a lucid, comprehensive, and critical new interpretation of Yuan’s part in shaping modern China.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Patrick Fuliang Shan is a professor of history at Grand Valley State University, where he teaches Chinese history, East Asian history, and world history. He was president of the Chinese Historians in the United States from 2009 to 2011, a board member of the Historical Society for Twentieth-Century China from 2010 to 2014, and the coordinator of the East Asian Studies Program at Grand Valley State University from 2013 to 2016.

Editorial Reviews

Shan’s excellent biography—the first in English since 1961—challenges us to think critically about our preconceptions, and the way in which prevailing historical narratives emerge, rejecting those appealing but ultimately unhelpful binary characterizations which too often blight the telling of China’s recent past.

the Asian Review of Books

Shan provide readers with a powerful and mostly convincing reappraisal of Yuan based on both primary sources with due attention to traditional and revisionist scholarship. It will surely be a significant addition to the study of Yuan Shikai as well as modern China in the years to come.

China Review International, Vol. 24, No. 2