Title: A Chinese Pioneer Family
The Lins of Wu-feng, Taiwan
Author: Johanna Menzel Meskill
In an absorbing account of a frontier family's rise to local eminence, from its pioneer days in eighteenth-century Taiwan through its attainment of gentry status, there a century later, Johanna Meskill presents not just a family history but a social history of late imperial china as well. Drawing on an unusually wide range of sources, including the family's genealogy and private papers, local archives, folktales, and fieldwork in Taiwan, the author evokes local history as it was experienced by local people, not by the outsiders who governed them.
Focusing on the lives and deaths, the loves, hates, and ambitions of nearly two dozen family members from seven generations, the narrative also deals in detail with the four or five major figures whose local fame or infamy shaped the fate of the family. The analysis centers on several larger topics: the dynamics of the Chinese settlement process, the genesis of rebellion, the role of violence in popular culture, patterns of upward mobility, the composition and function of the local elite, and the continuing vigour of the traditional gentry ideal. Numerous illustrations from family and other contemporary sources accompany the text.
Professor Meskill finds new meaning in the lives of the unknown and the little known as she places them in the context of the major historiographical problems of late imperial China.
Johanna M.Meskill is Professor of History at Herbert H.Lehman College in the City University of New York.
The book has heavy foxing on the page edges.
The book has green boards and gilt lettering to the spine.
The book has a small gilt illustration on the upper board in Chinese writing.
The dust jacket is in good condition but has wear on the lower rear edge.
The dust jacket has stains on the upper front edge.
The book contains pictures and illustrations throughout.
The dust jacket has been clipped on the inner front sleeve.