The introduction explains the concept of urbanization and describes how the book adds to current scholarship on the history of China. Understanding that urbanization is the orientation of the whole of society towards the city challenges the notion of the emergence of a rural-urban gap in the first half of the twentieth century. Moreover, exploring its relationship to the expansion of industrial capitalism and the rise of the developmental state explains how these historical processes were manifested spatially in the city and the countryside. Finally, the introduction addresses the intersection between urbanization and war, and shows how the revival of the silk industry that had been so important before 1937 was key to Wuxi’s recovery. Meanwhile, Chinese officials were directly responsible for much of the rebuilding of the city and this limited the impact of the Japanese occupation.
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