The Souls of China

The Return of Religion After Mao

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Ian Johnson
  • New York, NY: 
    Pantheon Press
    , April
     2017.
     480 pages.
     $19.99.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9781101870051.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by James Miller forthcoming.

Description

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, a revelatory portrait of religion in China today—its history, the spiritual traditions of its Eastern and Western faiths, and the ways in which it is influencing China’s future. 

The Souls of China tells the story of one of the world’s great spiritual revivals.  Following a century of violent anti-religious campaigns, China is now filled with new temples, churches, and mosques—as well as cults, sects, and politicians trying to harness religion for their own ends. Driving this explosion of faith is uncertainty—over what it means to be Chinese and how to live an ethical life in a country that discarded traditional morality a century ago and is searching for new guideposts.

Ian Johnson first visited China in 1984; in the 1990s he helped run a charity to rebuild Daoist temples, and in 2001 he won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the suppression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. While researching this book, he lived for extended periods with underground church members, rural Daoists, and Buddhist pilgrims. Along the way, he learned esoteric meditation techniques, visited a nonagenarian Confucian sage, and befriended government propagandists as they fashioned a remarkable embrace of traditional values. He has distilled these experiences into a cycle of festivals, births, deaths, detentions, and struggle-a great awakening of faith that is shaping the soul of the world's newest superpower.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Ian Johnson is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and The New York Times; his work has also appeared in The New Yorker and National Geographic. He is an advising editor for The Journal of Asian Studies and teaches a course on religion in Beijing. He is the author of two other books that also focus on the intersection of politics and religion: Wild Grass: Three Stories of Change in Modern China and A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA, and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West. He lives in Beijing.

Add New Comment

Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.

Log in to post comments