From the first chapter, The Wobbling Pivot establishes the vitality of communities, and the dependence of the state upon local coherence, as its theme. The image of China as monolithic and traditionally under the rule of a feared, respected and centralized state is challenged by a historical narrative of the necessary friction between state and society, which has generated peace and prosperity in some periods, and devastating, deforming conflicts in others.

While the book is built around a coherent theme for a general reader, it is equipped with thematic essays and maps that make it easily adaptable to the classroom. Recently, the author has extended the book across media, with an interactive desktop module for easy review and acquisition of additional maps, timelines, outlines, and discussion --both of the development of The Wobbling Pivot as a text, and of the problems of teaching modern Chinese history today.

Praise for The Wobbling Pivot