Official portrait of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, president of the Republic of China (ROC) from 1949 until his death in 1975. A nationalist leader from mainland China, Chiang was also nominal leader of China during WW2. After the war his nationalist Kuomintang party was defeated in a civil war with Mao's communists and the nationalists were forced to evacuate to Taiwan.
In a brisk revisionist history, William T. Rowe challenges the standard narrative of Qing China as a decadent, inward-looking state that failed to keep pace with the modern West. This original, thought-provoking history of China's last empire is a must-read for understanding the challenges facing China today.