A general history of modern East Asia, this work offers an understanding of this dynamic region from a global perspective. Following an introductory discussion of the regional concept, the first two chapters lay the foundations.
Written with rare mastery and a sure sense of the essential, this concise general history of modern East Asia offers an understanding of this dynamic region from a global perspective. Following an introductory discussion of the regional concept, the first two chapters lay the foundations. Chapter 1 describes East Asia's geographical, human, cultural, economic, social, and political setting as it has evolved over the past several millennia, and the three major belief systems - Confucianism, Buddhism, and Islam. Chapter 2 presents a panoramic view of the region ca. 1800. The chapter introduces the “dramatis personae” - the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Thai, Burmese, Indonesians, Filipinos, and others - and describes their interactions with each other and with Imperial China. The following three chapters deal with European expansionism and East Asians' responses to the civilizational challenge; the stirrings of nationalism in reaction to European colonial rule; and the remarkable rise of Imperial Japan. Chapters 6 and 7 trace Japan's bid to lead a pan-Asianist revolt against the twin threats of Western liberalism and Soviet communism, and the ensuing Pacific War.
Chapters 8 and 9 span the cold war era, from postwar U.S. hopes for a “Pax Americana” to the division of East Asia into communist and anti-communist blocs. The Sino-Soviet split and the Sino-American rapprochement of the early 1970s open the way to the “East Asian miracle” and a resurgence of East Asian regionalism, surveyed in Chapter 10. A concluding chapter considers the prospects for continued economic dynamism and the balance of nationalism and pan-Asian trends in shaping the future.
John H. Miller
is Department Head and Professor of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University.