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Ancestral Leaves follows one family through six hundred years of Chinese history and brings to life the epic narrative of the nation, from the fourteenth century through the Cultural Revolution. The lives of the Ye family#151;#147;Ye" means #147;leaf" in Chinese#151;reveal the human side of the large-scale events that shaped modern China: the vast and destructive rebellions of the nineteenth century, the economic growth and social transformation of the republican era, the Japanese invasion during World War II, and the Cultural Revolution under the Chinese Communists. Joseph W. Esherick draws from rare manuscripts and archival and oral history sources to provide an uncommonly personal and intimate glimpse into Chinese family history, illuminating the changing patterns of everyday life during rebellion, war, and revolution.