The greater part of this book was written in China two years ago when the country was enjoying the greatest measure of peace and prosperity it had known for a quarter of a century. It has been revised to the accompaniment of war in which hundreds of thousands have been killed and vast territories have fallen into the hands of enemy troops. But throughout the work of revision I have not thought it necessary to make any essential changes, for I believe the picture of the Chinese people is a permanent one.
This is not the first time that China has been over-run by foreign troops and parts of her territory put under alien rule. Nor is there any indication, to my mind, that the present invasion will have any more permanent effect than the former invasions on the lives and thoughts of the Chinese people. The present struggle is more desperate than the previous ones because mechanised warfare has made it so, and it has aroused more desperate efforts at resistance and brought to the surface a unity which has been surprising to the Chinese themselves.