New Books Network

The term ‘Manchuria’ conjures up all manner of evocative associations for people interested in East Asian and world history, from the Manchu founders of...

The term ‘Manchuria’ conjures up all manner of evocative associations for people interested in East Asian and world history, from the Manchu founders of China’s last imperial dynasty, to Russian railroads and Japanese empire on the Asian mainland. Up to now, however, there hasn’t really been a particularly obvious place to look for a satisfying source of information about these and other aspects of the region’s fascinating past and present.

Mark Gamsa’s Manchuria: A Concise History (I. B. Tauris, 2020) therefore meets a significant need, deftly weaving together the many diffuse strands which make up the history of what we now call northeast China. Conveniently broken down into easily digestible chunks, each dealing with a key historic juncture and the parties involved, the book sheds light on both known and overlooked aspects of Manchurian life.


Ed Pulford is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam. His research focuses on friendships and histories between the Chinese, Korean and Russian worlds, and northeast Asian indigenous groups.