In this work, written with compassion, D. E. Mungello aims to tell a “human” story of female infanticide in China. With a focus on the nineteenth century, the author addresses this topic in order to develop an understanding of “the different ways people acted,” and “to present their thinking as meaningful rather than merely irrational or cruel” (pp. xv–xvi). Following an introduction that provides a world history context, the book takes up ancient Chinese views of the child and discusses the forms and causes of infanticide (economic and cultural, namely, poverty and the cost of a dowry), punishment/reward-oriented anti-infanticide popular literature, and elite and government efforts to combat infanticide. In the second part of the book, Mungello shifts the focus from China to the missionaries and to the West, examining the phenomenon of infanticide denial (mainly among Protestants) and describing cases of missionary groups' relief efforts. The book ends with...
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Book Review| February 01 2010
Drowning Girls in China: Female Infanticide since 1650
Drowning Girls in China: Female Infanticide since 1650. By D. E. Mungello.
Rowman & Littlefield,
169pp. $69.00 (cloth); $22.95 (paper).
Journal of Asian Studies (2010) 69 (1): 230–231.
Weijing Lu; Drowning Girls in China: Female Infanticide since 1650. Journal of Asian Studies 1 February 2010; 69 (1): 230–231. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021911809992038
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