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Andrew Field

Mar 7, 2012

Shanghai's Dancing World

Cabaret Culture and Urban Politics, 1919-1954

The Chinese University Press 2010

purchase at bookshop.org "To think of Shanghai is to think of its nightlife: the two are synonymous." From here, Andrew Field takes us on a dance across modern Chinese history, through its nightscapes and ballrooms, into the sprawls of its settlements and the pages of its pictorials. Based on a wide range of sources from architectural blueprints to oral interviews, Field's book succeeds in both showing us new sides of characters we thought we knew, and in introducing a new cast of historical actors who helped shape the rise of urban modernity in Shanghai. Picking up Shanghai's Dancing World: Cabaret Culture and Urban Politics, 1919-1954 (The Chinese University Press, 2010), readers join Field to listen to the jazz of expatriate Whitey Smith at the wedding of Chiang Kai-shek and Song Mei-ling, to learn dance hall etiquette along with "dance empresses" anointed in annual competitions, and to follow the gangsters, activists, politicians, and entrepreneurs through the Dancer's Uprising of 1948 and beyond.

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