Wakeman, Frederic, Jr. 1937–
Wakeman, Frederic, Jr. 1937–
(Frederic Evans Wakeman, Jr.)
PERSONAL: Born December 12, 1937, in Kansas City, KS.; son of Frederic Evans (an author) and Margaret (Keyes) Wakeman; married Nancy Schuster, December 28, 1957 (divorced January, 1974); married Carolyn Huntley, December 31, 1974; children: Frederic Evans III, Matthew Clark. Education: Harvard University, A.B., 1959; Institut d'Etudes Politiques, graduate study, 1959–60; University of California, Berkeley, M.A., 1962, Ph.D., 1965.
CAREER: University of California—Berkeley, CA, assistant professor, 1965–67, associate professor, 1968–70, professor of Chinese history, 1971–79, currently Haas Professor of Asian Studies; Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies, Taipei, Taiwan, director, 1967–68. Visiting scholar at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University, and Beijing University.
MEMBER: American Historical Association, Association for Asian Studies, Society for Ch'ing Studies.
AWARDS, HONORS: Harvard National Scholar, 1955–1959; Center for Chinese Studies (Berkeley, CA) junior fellowship, 1960–62; National Defense Foreign Language fellowship, 1962–63; John Simon Guggenheim fellowship, 1973–74; National Book Award nomination, 1974, for History and Will; National Research Council fellow.
NONFICTION, EXCEPT AS NOTED
Seventeen Royal Palms Drive (novel), New American Library (New York, NY), 1962.
Strangers at the Gate: Social Disorder in South China, 1839–1861, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1966.
Nothing Concealed: Essays in Honor of Liu Yuyun, Chinese Materials and Research Aids Service Center (Taiwan), 1970.
(With Thomas Metcalf and Edward Tannenbaum) A World History, Wiley (New York, NY), 1973.
History and Will: Philosophical Perspectives of the Thought of Mao Tse-tung, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1973.
(Editor) Conflict and Control in Late Imperial China, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1975.
The Fall of Imperial China, Free Press (New York, NY), 1975.
(Editor) Ming and Qing Historical Studies in the People's Republic of China, University of California at Berkeley Center for Chinese Studies (Berkeley, CA), 1980.
The Great Enterprise: The Manchu Reconstruction of Imperial Order in Seventeenth-Century China, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1985.
(Editor, with Wen-hsin Yeh) Shanghai Sojourners, University of California at Berkeley Center for Chinese Studies (Berkeley, CA), 1992
Policing Shanghai, 1927–1937, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1995.
The Shanghai Badlands: Wartime Terrorism and Urban Crime, 1937–1941, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1996.
(With Wang Xi) China's Quest for Modernization: A Historical Perspective, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1997.
(Editor, with Richard Louis Edmonds) Reappraising Republican China, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2000.
Spymaster: Dai Li and the Chinese Secret Service, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2003.
Author of foreword to Poisoned Arrows: The Stalin-Choibalsan Mongolian Massacres, 1921–1941, by Shagdariin Sandag and Harry H. Kendall, Westview (Boulder, CO), 2000. Contributor to books, including From Ming to Ch'ing, edited by Jonathon Spence and John Wills, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1979; and The Cambridge History of China, Volume 10, Cambridge University Press, 1979. Contributor of articles and reviews to scholarly journals. Spymaster: Dai Li and the Chinese Secret Service has been translated into Chinese.
SIDELIGHTS: Frederic Wakeman, Jr., "is one of the brightest of the middle generation of American historians of China," according to a reviewer in the Times Literary Supplement. He praised Wakeman's first study of the Chinese, Strangers at the Gate: Social Disorder in South China, 1839–1861, for being "one of the few Western studies of nineteenth-century Chinese history that can be recommended … to readers not accustomed to … sinological writing." Wakeman's subsequent work has been similarly praised.
History and Will: Philosophical Perspectives of the Thought of Mao Tse-tung, which was nominated for the 1974 National Book Award, is Wakeman's analysis of the influence of various Chinese and European political, philosophical, and cultural traditions on Mao Tse-tung's thought. Library Journal reviewer Leo Oufan Lee commented that History and Will "presents a mosaic of documentation, insights, and reflections on a variety of historical and philosophical subjects … which provide the intellectual background of Maoism." Although the Times Literary Supplement critic pointed to certain structural and thematic flaws and suggested that Wakeman may have "tried to cover too much ground," he considered the book a "bold effort" and concluded: "The faults of this interesting book do not cancel out its achievements, which are considerable. Dr. Wakeman has opened up new perspectives on modern Chinese intellectual history and sown some ideas that will yield fruit in the future. It is not often that a book on China makes one think hard, and so long as History and Will is treated neither as a textbook nor as an authoritative work it is to be welcomed."
In Policing Shanghai: 1927–1937, Wakeman provides an analysis of a crucial decade in Chinese history, focusing on the city of Shanghai. The threat of Japanese expansion was imminent, and the country's national identity was weak due to various factors. Wakeman examines the Chinese Nationalists' plans for renewing the nation. He also charts the powerful influences of the Shanghai underworld, which was filled with casinos, brothels, and drug rings. Policing Shanghai offers "a magisterial slice of modern Chinese history," according to Kellee S. Tsai in the Journal of International Affairs. Journal of Asian and African Studies contributor Richard J. Smith found the picture Wakeman painted to be depressing, but presented with "color and clarity." Smith further commented that the book will "dazzle us with its brilliant narrative and convince us that even without the invasion of the Japanese in the 1930s, the Nationalists were doomed to failure." Wakeman delves further into the history of Shanghai in The Shanghai Badlands: Wartime Terrorism and Urban Crime, 1937–41.
The author focuses on twentieth-century espionage in Spymaster: Dai Li and the Chinese Secret Service. Reviewing the book for the Canadian Journal of History, Ryan Dunch recommended it as a "masterful" depiction of "the secretive world of kidnappers, torturers, spies, and smugglers in government employ." He outlines the development of the secret police system, as carried out during that period by General Dai Li. Dunch advised, "The book is difficult reading, both for its subject matter and for the depth of detail it contains, but it is by the same token a tour de force and richly instructive for any modern historian in illuminating the hidden politics of Republican China, which gave rise to a veritable army of agents and assassins." Dai Li's complex personality mirrored the complexities of life in China at that time, and Wakeman's portrait of him won praise from critics. "Minutely researched, richly contextualized, and lucidly written," remarked Yu Shen in Historian, "Wakeman produces an amazingly evenhanded account of Dai Li, a man better known for his evil reputation than historical consequence." Shen concluded that after reading this book the figure of Dai Li "will remain on our conscience and challenge us to stare into his eyes and try to comprehend the complexity of both his life and his time."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Canadian Journal of History, December, 2004, Ryan Dunch, review of Spymaster: Dai Li and the Chinese Secret Service, p. 648.
China Journal, July, 2004, Brian G. Martin, review of Spymaster, p. 219.
Choice, January, 1974, review of History and Will: Philosophical Perspectives of the Thought of Mao Tse-tung, p. 1788.
Historian, winter, 1999, Arif Dirlik, review of The Shanghai Badlands: Wartime Terrorism and Urban Crime, 1937–1941, p. 446; spring, 2005, Yu Shen, review of Spymaster, p. 139.
Journal of Asian and African Studies, December, 1996, Richard J. Smith, review of Policing Shanghai, 1927–1937, p. 259; November, 1998, Tzi-Ki Hon, review of China's Quest for Modernization: A Historical Perspective, p. 388.
Journal of Asian Studies, February, 1974, review of History and Will, p. 310.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, summer, 1997, Lillian M. Li, review of Policing Shanghai, 1927–1937, p. 177.
Journal of International Affairs, winter, 1996, Kellee S. Tsai, review of Policing Shanghai, 1927–1937, pp. 606-612.
Library Journal, April 15, 1973, Leo Oufan Lee, review of History and Will, p. 1289.
Times Literary Supplement, March 15, 1974, review of History and Will, p. 251.