The era between Imperial China and Socialist China is called the Republican era.
From 1900 to 1949 the ordinary Chinese sought to improve their lives, engage with the world and participate in civic and political activities.
These two books explore this era from different perspectives.
Dikotter looks at it from a thematic lens. Rickshaw Beijing looks at it from people of different classes.
Sadly, their aspirations and dreams were all dashed by the Cultural Revolution and The Great Leap Forward.