By focusing on stories of lower-class women charged under “Offenses against the Institutions of Marriage and the Family” (fanghai hunyin jiating zui) in Beijing from 1937 to 1949, Zhao Ma details everyday lives under the turbulent economy and modern state-building efforts of successive wartime regimes (Guomindang, Japanese Occupation forces, and Communist), and examines key themes animating recent urban, labor, and women's history studies of prewar and wartime China.1 While the case files of women charged with crimes of bigamy (chonghun), adultery (tongjian), and abduction (youguai) may provide only partial stories of extraordinary circumstances, and only of married women, Runaway Wives, Urban Crimes, and Survival Tactics in Wartime Beijing gives more than “a good enough story” (p. 31). The book moves between the daily “survival tactics” of lower-class women and larger spheres of social reformist, elite feminist, legal, and modern disciplinary state...

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