This volume from the Lucent Books' World History series explores the period that comprises recent Chinese history, from Mao Zedong’s founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 to the country’s hosting of the Summer Olympics in August 2008. A full–color timeline helps set the events within an international context, while the introduction’s accessible text provides a concise overview of “China’s Continuing Revolution.” The seven essays, each about 10 pages long and arranged chronologically, look at issues such as how China became a Communist nation and then a military and political power. Primary–source sidebars, taken from diaries, public records and contemporary chronicles draw the readers into each story; one entry, accompanied by a photograph of a small family posed in front of their bleak rural dwelling, describes how, “When the Communists established their headquarters in Yenan in 1936, they lived in crude caves like poor people there always had.” Chairman Mao was no exception. “The fact that Mao [Zedong] lived in such a cave struck visitors as symbolic of his revolutionary fervor...Mao settled at once into this strangely desolate new home.” Many of the photographs throughout the volume offer compelling, if sometimes disturbing, catalysts for debate, such as a Communist soldier executing a Guomintang citizen, the result of Mao’s 1952 proclamation that controlling the people was a necessary goal. Topics addressed in other essays examine the struggle for power that continues within China, Den Xiapoping’s attempts to lead China in a new direction, and more recent issues that China must face as it continues to grow, including unequal economic growth and limited democracy. The formally documented quotations offer further insight. One young businesswoman who sells Chinese crafts and jewelry in her own shop reflects, “Sometimes I’m dissatisfied with what I have simply because I am free enough to be able to think about it.” An annotated bibliography provides readers with an opportunity to locate and evaluate sources and can act as a springboard for continued research and debate. The list of books and Web sites offers extension materials for middle and high school curriculum and will give students a deeper understanding of the history and nature of a complicated nation. The volume also includes a glossary of key terms and a general index. Highly recommended for middle, high school and public libraries.