EDITED BY ROBERT E. GAMER
BOULDER, COLORADO, LYNNE RIENNER PUBLISHERS, 1999
416 PAGES, ISBN 1-55587-686-2 PAPERBACK
Understanding Contemporary China is an anthology of essays on contemporary China, edited by Robert E. Gamer. Consisting of 14 chapters, authored by various experts in different fields, it presents a varied and well-rounded introduction to modern China. Beginning with the geographic and historical basics (“Geographic Preface” by Stanley W. Toops and “The Historical Context” by Rhoads Murphey), it includes essays on Chinese politics, international relations, and “China Beyond the Heartland” by Robert E. Gamer; population growth and urbanization are discussed by Ma Rong, and environmental problems by Richard Louis Edmonds. A fascinating and cutting-edge examination of “Family, Kinship, Marriage, and Sexuality” is presented by Zang Xiaowei, as well as a discussion of women’s status and problems in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries by Laurel Bossen; articles on religion by Chan Hoiman and Ambrose Y. C. King, and literature/popular culture by Charles A. Laughlin, conclude the perspectives. The anthology ends with a look at future “Trends and Prospects” by Robert E. Gamer. Authors are introduced in an all-too-brief Contributors page at the end of the book. I would have appreciated a little more information on each one; one sentence is too brief.