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Railroads and the Transformation of China - Harvard Studies in Business History (Hardback)
  • Railroads and the Transformation of China - Harvard Studies in Business History (Hardback)
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Railroads and the Transformation of China - Harvard Studies in Business History (Hardback)

(author)
£31.95
Hardback 416 Pages / Published: 25/01/2019
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As a vehicle to convey both the history of modern China and the complex forces still driving the nation's economic success, rail has no equal. Railroads and the Transformation of China is the first comprehensive history, in any language, of railroad operation from the last decades of the Qing Empire to the present. China's first fractured lines were built under semicolonial conditions by competing foreign investors. The national system that began taking shape in the 1910s suffered all the ills of the country at large: warlordism and Japanese invasion, Chinese partisan sabotage, the Great Leap Forward when lines suffered in the "battle for steel," and the Cultural Revolution, during which Red Guards were granted free passage to "make revolution" across the country, nearly collapsing the system. Elisabeth Koell's expansive study shows how railroads survived the rupture of the 1949 Communist revolution and became an enduring model of Chinese infrastructure expansion. The railroads persisted because they were exemplary bureaucratic institutions. Through detailed archival research and interviews, Koell builds case studies illuminating the strength of rail administration. Pragmatic management, combining central authority and local autonomy, sustained rail organizations amid shifting political and economic priorities. As Koell shows, rail provided a blueprint for the past forty years of ambitious, semipublic business development and remains an essential component of the PRC's politically charged, technocratic economic model for China's future.

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674368170
Number of pages: 416
Dimensions: 235 x 156 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
K ll is clearly a master of archival diplomacy, for she has over time found materials accessible to no other foreign scholar, resulting in one of the richest studies in the evolution, management, finances, and labor politics of any Chinese enterprise. It gives nuanced and sustained attention to the intersection of business and politics that remains to this day a critical factor for the success or failure of business in China.--William C. Kirby, coauthor of Can China Lead? Reaching the Limits of Power and Growth
The history of Chinese railroads is a topic so important, it is surprising we have had to wait so long for a book like this--the most comprehensive history of Chinese railways in either Chinese or English. Based on previously unused archives and interviews, Elisabeth K ll gives readers a picture of the building and development of what has become one of the largest railway networks in the world. At the same time, K ll provides a new perspective on a broad sweep of Chinese history from the final years of the Qing dynasty, through war and revolution in the twentieth century, and into China's economic rise since the 1980s.--Brett Sheehan, author of Industrial Eden: A Chinese Capitalist Vision

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