China on the Brink

Travels through a land in revolt
John F. Howes


In 1948, John F. Howes, a young American with a family background in Asia and a future as a distinguished professor of East Asian history, traveled across China in the pivotal months before the Communist triumph. From the bustling streets of Shanghai to the towering gorges of the Yangtze River, his diary of the journey has left us with a unique, penetrating and personal look at what the country and its people were going through at this extraordinary moment in history.

John F. Howes (1924—2017) was a professor of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia, where he was instrumental in the construction of the Asian Centre and where an endowment in his honor funds the ongoing John Howes Lecture in Japanese Studies series. He was the author of Japan’s Modern Prophet: Uchimura Kanzo, 1861—1930, and a number of other books and publications. He was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun in 2003 for his contributions to Japanese-Canadian relations.