Sources in Modern East Asian History and Politics - Theodore McNelly

Sources in Modern East Asian History and Politics - Theodore McNelly

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In the study of world affairs there is no substitute for reading the documents which professional historians and political scientists use in their research. To the extent that the student is unfamiliar with primary sources, he is at the mercy of textbook writers and journalists for the interpretation of events. Only after examining the raw materials of history is he in a position to do some intelligent thinking for himself. Moreover, reading the actual statements of world leaders will give the student a vivid sense of the historical and political processes in which he himself is a participant.

This source book is designed to provide supplementary reading for courses in the history, politics, and ideologies of modern China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. In order to devote the maximum space to the readings themselves, the editorial notes have purposely been kept short. They summarize the recent political history of East Asia and suggest the significance and interrelations of the selections. The book is arranged in chapters corresponding roughly to the chapters in standard textbooks. A correlation chart is provided to help the student relate the selections to what he is studying in his textbook. At the end of each chapter there is a bibliography of suggested further reading. The Constitutions of Japan and Communist China are reproduced in the appendix. The maps have been selected with an eye to their accuracy, clarity, and up-to-dateness.

As is often the case with compilations such as this, there were many important materials which could not be included for lack of space. The principal criteria for inclusion were the relative importance of the political events concerned and the relevance of the documents to the causes and results of the events. An effort was made to represent a variety of points of view on controversial topics. Where several documents competed for a place, the compiler sometimes chose the less readily available document to enhance the value of the collection for the more advanced students.

The reader should, of course, be aware that most of the selections in this book were written not by impartial scholars but by politicians and diplomats who were less concerned to provide unbiased presentations of the facts than to persuade people to particular points of view. The real purposes of these writers are often hidden behind pretended objective accounts of history. To discover the underlying motives of these historical  figures is but one of the challenges before the student.


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