In China, as it was in many other places, the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries witnessed the emergence of the city as the locus of modern social organization. While there were of course cities in earlier times—and Chinese cities were among the largest in the premodern world—the cities of the modern era were distinct in that they were cast or recast in an increasingly similar mold. The new technologies of the times allowed for new or expanded infrastructures—from roads and telegraphs to electricity and water—which, in turn, gave rise to new, standardized urban forms that seemed to capture the idea of modernity's universality. Toby Lincoln's Urbanizing China in War and Peace sets out to explore this urban transformation in China through the history of Wuxi County in the first half of the twentieth century.

Located on the northern shore of Lake Tai in the prosperous Lower Yangzi Delta, Wuxi...

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