China exerts increasing influence on the global economy, and the country's fascinating and turbulent recent history demands our understanding. This clear and convincing overview tells the story of a century that saw three political revolutions and considerable social and cultural upheaval. The author moves fluently between social, political and cultural history and frequently brings gender into the picture, showing that events such as revolutions can have very different effects on men and women. His exploration of the transformations China has undergone integrates ideas from the very latest scholarship, reminding readers that history is not just about what happened, but also about differing interpretations and approaches. The book concludes with a discussion of recent reforms by the Chinese Communist Party in its aim to raise the living standards of the country's 1.3 billion inhabitants and strengthen the foundations of one-party rule.