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Reviews 71 dant in the past. The recent Mao cult thus inevitably begs the question ofpast influence . Does the 1995 construction ofa traditional-style temple devoted to Mao in his home province (mentioned by the author on p. 23) have some link to popular religious worship? In a proclaimed atheistic state, the meaning of the deification ofa political leader can perhaps be better comprehended through the long lens ofhistory. The reservations above should by no means dim the significance ofthis book. This is an important contribution to the study ofChinese political culture, not so much for the author's theoretical findings (ofwhich there are few), but for his intelligent and refreshing interpretation ofa potent political symbol and its manifold manifestations in a rapidly changing China. Chang-tai Hung Carleton College and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Chang-tai Hung is a historian specializing in modern Chinese cultural history. He is the Jane and Raphael Bernstein Professor ofHistory and Asian Studies at Carleton College and Professor ofHumanities at the HongKong University ofScience and Technology. mm Marie-Claire Bergère. Sun Yat-Sen. Paris: Fayard, 1994. x> 543 PP- Paperback Fr 160.00, isbn 2-213-03190-8. Marie-Claire Bergère, well known for her L'age d'or de la bourgeoisie chinoise, has made an excellent new contribution to the Fayard biographical series. It will not come as a surprise to most Chinese, who revere him as the father oftheir country, that Sun Yat-sen is the first Chinese in this series. Among Western scholars, however , Sun is somewhat out of fashion, since Martin Wilbur and Harold Schiffrin effectively destroyed his larger-than-life image. The current trend in scholarship has moved away from Western influences on China. One prefers to stress the vitality ofindigenous Chinese urban traditions and the growing economic and social responsibilities ofthe urban elite during the final decades of the Qing dynasty . Bergère reminds us that there still is the revolution to be explained, with all© 1997 by University its fervor and the activities of students, intellectuals, and conspirators. ofHawai'iPressBasically, thisbookis a chronological story ofSun's life and deeds. It is divided into three main parts, the titles ofwhich capture the essence ofSun's development : the adventurer from Nanyang, the founder ofthe republican govern- 72 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 1997 ment, and the head ofa revolutionary nationalist government. Subtitles such as "the symbolic creation ofa revolutionary leader, 1984-1897," "the adoptive father ofthe Chinese Republic," and "Warlord without an army" are succinct characterizations . Each chapter is summarized, which helps the reader to recapture the main picture and arguments. At the end, there is a chronology and an elaborate bibliography that includes works in Chinese-language. The author follows Schiffrin in assigning great importance to Sun's early efforts to become accepted in the Chinese reformist movement. Li Hongzhang rejected Sun's application to become an adviser because Sun lacked social status and a Confucian education, and this made him a revolutionary. Rather than stressing Sun's shortcomings or failures as a "Frustrated Patriot" or "Reluctant Revolutionary," the author focuses on Sun's greatest quality: he was a great communicator throughout his life, with an uncanny instinct for giving voice to the aspirations ofhis time. First, he sought and obtained support wherever it could be found against the Manchus. A cosmopolitan figure representative ofthe maritime margin ofChina, he found this support mainly in his personal networks in the treaty port of Canton and in Hong Kong. He plotted and schemed, with the conviction that a popular uprising might topple the dynasty. However, he was rejected by the bureaucrats, merchants, and literati, just as he had been rejected earlier . Next, he rode the waves of anti-imperialist feeling, while continuing to press for rapid Westernization. A sweet-talker, he moved with great flexibility and ease in the circles of missionaries, secret societies, overseas students, merchant guilds, Western diplomats, and Japanese revolutionary idealists. In his varying roles, he benefited from his opportunism and charm. Bergère considers Sun to have been neither a theoretician nor an original thinker—not even a good organizer. In the early twenties, when he was...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 71-73
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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