The Chinese View of their Place in the World. C. P. Fitzgerald.

Chatham House, 7s. 6d.

Notes from China. Joan Robinson. Blackwells, 3s. 6d.

Professor Fitzgerald’s essay on China has all the scholarship and elegance that one would expect from him, and is particularly recommended for those seeking an introduction to the subject. Fitzgerald sets modern China in historical perspective, giving an excellent brief portrait of the Tang dynasty period (a particularly important moment in the development of Chinese society). However, reading this essay one feels that Fitzgerald and other writers on China have perhaps over-emphasized the elements of continuity in Chinese history. In stressing ‘the past in China’s present’ they have overlooked the fact that modern China is a society more dominated by the future than by the past, even if revolutionary developments are sometimes given a traditional camouflage. The truly revolutionary character of contemporary China is clearly suggested in Joan Robinson’s useful pamphlet on the Chinese communes. The author modestly disclaims any special knowledge of China, but her personal experience and her professional judgment as an economist combine to provide an impressive testimony to the momentous transformation of rural China that is now taking place.

John Blackmore