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Armies are made up of a small number of officers and a large number of ordinary soldiers, recruited from the working class or peasantry. When the military dominates a society, as it did in Warlord China, it is these ordinary soldiers who become the direct agents of oppression and terror. Asking who these men were, and why they turned on their own society, this book looks at the origins, training and behaviour of the soldiers of Warlord China. It thus provides a case study of the misery inflicted by military regimes on civilian societies. Military control in China was long drawn out, and fragmented. The Warlord period, in the first years of Republican China, has been designated as the darkest of Modern Chinese history. The soldiers who served in the warlord armies were considered to be the lowest of the low, and have not for that reason been a subject for study, but their impact on their society was enormous. Their parallels in other, contemporary societies are equally influential. Diana Lary's book includes in translation documents of the period to illuminate the human side of her theme.