The Making of a Subcultural Revolution

Xiaobing Tang, University of Michigan

Paul Clark. Youth Culture in China: From Red Guards to Netizens. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 304 pp. $90 (cloth), $30 (paper), $24 (ebook).

Paul Clark. The Chinese Cultural Revolution: A History. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008. 368 pp. $88 (cloth), $26 (paper).

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To read the two most recent books by Paul Clark, renowned for his earlier contributions to the study of Chinese cinema, is to marvel both at his vast and enviable knowledge of the subject matter and at the vast and fast-changing landscape of modern and contemporary Chinese cultural experiences and expressions. It is to be constantly amazed by the dots that the cultural historian connects, by the different terrains that he leads us through, and by the expansive vistas that he brings into focus. Students interested in almost any aspect of modern and contemporary Chinese culture (from film to fiction to music to dance to bodybuilding) will appreciate the wealth of materials and references contained in these two volumes. Similarly, scholars of the Cultural Revolution and the developments since will have much to think about and to address, because what Clark presents here is a richer and more complex narrative of recent Chinese cultural history than has heretofore been packaged or popularized. It is a narrative that underscores the continuing evolution of modern Chinese culture in the twentieth century and beyond.