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The Souls of China by Ian Johnson
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The Souls of China

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The Souls of China by Ian Johnson
Paperback $18.00
Mar 06, 2018 | ISBN 9780804173391

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  • Mar 06, 2018 | ISBN 9780804173391

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  • Apr 11, 2017 | ISBN 9781101870068

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“Wonderful. . . . A masterpiece of observation and empathy.” —The New York Review of Books 

“Chinese society is not religious. At least that’s the conventional wisdom. . . . Ian Johnson brilliantly demonstrates that the conventional wisdom is wrong.” —The Washington Post

“Moving. . . . A nuanced group portrait of Chinese citizens striving for non-material answers in an era of frenetic materialism.” —The Guardian
“A fascinating panorama.” —The Economist

“Compelling. . . . A seminal piece of work taking the reader well beyond the prejudices and clichés that so often mark writing about religion in East Asia.” —The Times Literary Supplement

“With a subtlety born of years spent in China, Johnson explains how traditional rituals help people overcome urban anomie and answer the ‘pragmatic but profound issue of how to behave’. . . . He sees believers’ recurrent invocation of ‘heaven’ as an aspiration for justice and respect, couched as an appeal to a power higher than the government.” —The New Yorker 

“Produces deep insight into China’s multifaceted religious revival. . . . Distill[s] the results of broad scholarly research with gentle humor and quiet emotion.” —Foreign Affairs

“Absorbing and often surprising.” —Financial Times

“A deeply knowledgeable, eminently readable and important book that reveals a side of China that foreigners rarely explore.” —The Christian Science Monitor

“[Johnson] is at his best, showcasing his mastery of immersive reporting as he travels with Buddhist pilgrims and lives with Chinese Christians.” —Foreign Policy

“Takes us on an extraordinarily rich and intimate journey. . . . Johnson shows us what is really in Chinese souls and hearts. This vividly written, deeply researched book will be the primary work about religious faith in China for years to come.” Leslie T. Chang, author of Factory Girls

“A rich, informative, and timely book. . . . A tremendous accomplishment.” Ha Jin, National Book Award–winning author of Waiting

“This entrancing and engaging book challenges the modern assumption that religion is a thing of the past; on the contrary, the dramatic resurgence of spirituality in China, after a century of violent persecution, suggests that it is an irrepressible force that may in some sense be essential to humanity.” Karen Armstrong, author of Fields of Blood

“In Ian Johnson . . . the faithful have found an ideal chronicler. With the patience of the ethnographer, and the precision of a journalist, Johnson has produced an enduring account of China’s inner life at a time of disorienting social and economic change.” —Asian Review of Books

“Remarkable. . . . Recounts extraordinary tales of courage and heartbreak.” —The Irish Times

“Captivating. . . . The Souls of China is written like top-flight journalism—it is driven by the stories of real people, and the analysis flows out of their lives. At the same time, a reader who knows the literature (and who reads the endnotes) will see just how thoroughly grounded Johnson is in the broader range of scholarship.” —Current History 

“In touching, descriptive prose, Johnson brings his subjects to life amid a colorful backdrop. . . . Engaging, timely, and humane.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“Johnson’s writing is compelling and lyrical, and his research strikes a fluid balance between the political implications . . . and the implications for daily life.” —Publishers Weekly
“Unique in the wide scope of culture and history of China that is woven into the gripping personal narratives.” —Healing Tao

“For anyone interested in looking beyond the headlines to understand the complexity of religious life in China today, The Souls of China is a must-read.” —Gospel Coalition

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