How did ordinary people live through the extraordinary changes that have swept across modern China? How did peasants transform themselves into urbanites? How did the citizens of Shanghai cope with the epic upheavals—revolution, war, and again revolution—that shook their lives? Even after decades of scholarship devoted to modern Chinese history, our understanding of the daily lives of the common people of China remains sketchy and incomplete. In this carefully researched study, Hanchao Lu weaves rich documentary data with ethnographic surveys and interviews to reconstruct the fabric of everyday life in China's largest and most complex city in the first half of this century.
Hanchao Lu is Professor of History at Georgia Institute of Technology.
"From Hanchao Lu's clear and lively descriptions of Shanghai in the early twentieth century, we learn about the patterns of alleyways, design of row houses, rules for subletting, shapes of door-knockers, springs in rickshaw cushions, calls of hawkers, sidewalk haircuts, factory work, how nightsoil pots were emptied and cleaned, and the responsibility of neighbors to keep their noses in one another's affairs. We understand, in short, the base from which everything else about Shanghai at the time should be understood. A delightful and edifying book."—Perry Link, author of Evening Chats in Beijing
Best Book in non-North American Urban History, Urban History Association