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North Castle Books

China's Last Nomads: The History and Culture of China's Kazaks
Authored by: Linda Benson; Ingvar Svanberg

Cloth ISBN: 978-1-56324-781-1 Paper ISBN: 978-1-56324-782-8
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USD: $93.95 USD: $32.95
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Available to all countries
Information: 270pp. Photographs, maps, charts, bibliography, index.
Publication Date: March 1998.  


Description: A growing interest in China's borderlands accelerated after the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, which brought independence to new states like Kazakstan as well as a new configuration of power to Central Eurasia. Despite renewed interest in the region and its peoples, information on the Kazaks, and particularly on the Kazaks living in China, has remained limited. This new study, based on Chinese publications, archival materials, and recent fieldwork, provides an up-to-date treatment of Kazak history and culture. Special emphasis is placed on the Kazaks in 20th century China and, in particular, their status today as one of China's minority nationalities. Not only does this book add to an understanding of the Kazaks of Xinjiang, it also contributes to a broader understanding of China's own stake in Central Eurasia as this politically sensitive region prepares to enter the twenty-first century.

--the only book-length study available on the Kazaks of China
--discusses the 1991 Soviet collapse and the rise of the newly independent states, including the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the impact these events have for Beijing;

Selected Contents:

1. The Kazaks of Northwestern China: The Physical and Cultural Setting
2. Kazaks in Central Eurasia and China to the Twentieth Century
3. China's Kazaks 1912-1949
4. CCP Minority Policy and Its Implementation in Xinjiang
5. Life at the Local Level: Development and Change in Xinjiang's Autonomous Kazak Areas
6. Kazak Culture and Chinese Politics
7. Kazakstan and China's Kazaks in the 21st Century

Review(s): "A significant contribution to the study of Kazaks, especially their role as a minority in China. ... Profuse multilingual sources. Appropriate for all levels." -- Choice

"... quite simply the best place to begin reading about the Kazakhs and their region." -- The Pacific Review

"The treatment is very well informed and sensitive to crucial issues which involve the future of the Kazaks, of China, Kazakhstan and other newly independent Central Asian states. ... Makes a significant addition to the literature on particular minorities of China, and even to the subject of its minorities as a whole. It is well written and documented, and the pictures are excellent. It will interest anybody with concerns about Central Asia or China's minorities, and especially those fascinated by Xinjiang and its peoples. This is an important part of the world and it deserves the kind of scholarly and sensitive consideration this book provides." -- China Information

"The first history of China's Kazaks available in English. ... [It] helps explain this group's position in the new Central Eurasia. ... In addition to providing anecdotal evidence from interviews conducted inside and outside the PRC, the authors have done an excellent job compiling statistical data. ...[The book] is clear, reliable, the best available resource on China's Kazaks, and a fine introduction to the recent history of Xinjiang and to Chinese policies towards Xinjiang's Turkic Muslims." -- The Journal of Asian Studies

"China's Last Nomads is a fascinating, concise and informative account of China's Kazak minority...Co-authors Linda Benson and Ingvar Svanberg reward their readers with a meticulously researched and scrupulously balanced history of China's Kazaks, focusing on the province of Xinjiang...Insofar as it seeks to provide a historical overview of China's Kazak minority China's Last Nomads succeeds admirably. Benson and Svanberg's research is extensive...China's Last Nomads is equally suited to both a general readership and Central Asian specialists. The text is clearly written and is supplemented by an impressive collection of statistical data which provides a solid body of supporting evidence...China's Last Nomads deserves a wide readership. For the general reader it offers an accessible, scholarly and concise introduction to the complexities of Central Asian history." --

"(continued from above) For a more specialised audience it offers a compelling case study of China's minority policies in action." -- Asian Studies Review

"... quite simply the best place to begin reading about the Kazakhs and their region." -- The Pacific Review

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