The Soldier Image and State-Building in Modern China, 1924-1945 (Hardback)
Based on groundbreaking research, this book is the first of its kind to provide a close examination in English of the extensive imagery of the soldier figure in the war culture of early twentieth-century China. This study moves away from the traditional military history perspectives and focuses on the neglected cultural aspect of the intersection of war and society in China during a crucial period that led to the eventual victory of the Chinese Communist Party over the Nationalist Party. Integrating history, literature, and arts, this appealing narrative reveals multiple meanings of the soldier figure created by different political, social, and cultural forces in modern China. Drawing from a wide range of sources including government documents, speeches, newspaper articles, memoirs, military textbooks, and yangge drama, Yan Xu recounts stories of unforgettable Chinese political leaders, including Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong. She also examines the wartime experiences of previously marginalized social groups, including women soldiers, wounded soldiers, student soldiers, military writers, and vocational education professionals, giving voice to those largely forgotten by military historians. This book opens up a new area in modern Chinese history and Chinese military history by revealing that the cultural discourse on the soldier image is essential to understanding Chinese nationalism, state-building, and civil-military relations in the early twentieth century.