On April 2, Dr. Stephen R. Platt, a 2008-2010 fellow in the National Committee’s Public Intellectuals Program, discussed his latest book, Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War, at the Luce Foundation office in New York. Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom is a military history of the nineteenth-century Taiping Rebellion, one of the largest civil wars in history. This comprehensive account sets the rebellion in a global context that weaves together the story of the domestic conflict between the Qing dynasty and the Taiping rebels with the larger forces of Chinese-foreign relations that led ultimately to Britain’s crucial intervention in the war.
Stephen R. Platt is an associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, specializing in the intellectual and military history of nineteenth-century China and U.S.-China relations. He holds B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University, where his dissertation won the Theron Rockwell Field Prize, and was a 2008-2010 fellow in the National Committee’s Public Intellectuals Program.
Prior to completing his Ph.D. in Chinese History at Yale, he spent two years as a Yale-China teacher in Hunan province. Dr. Platt is also the author of Provincial Patriots: The Hunanese and Modern China (Harvard, 2007).