"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.