Bridie Andrews's new book The Making of Modern Chinese Medicine, 1850–1960 aims to bring Western readers a new account of the history of modern “Chinese” medicine. Her analysis is grounded on the contemporary intellectual view that the idea of a universal and normative modernity is largely considered as an illusion of the mid-twentieth-century elite, who tended to believe that an ideal scientific “Western” medicine emerged against a nonscientific traditional “Chinese” medicine in modern China. It has been commonly thought that this modernist view of the mid-twentieth-century elite was produced objectively by judging the clinical efficacy of modern scientific medicine. But according to Andrews, it was not. Rather, this book emphasizes that it was the political imperative to defend Chinese sovereignty in the face of superior Western economic, technological, and military power that drove Chinese intellectuals, doctors, and politicians to facilitate institutional...

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