This episode focuses on the 1862-1895 period, when the Empress Dowager Cixi ruled and reformers tried to make China strong enough to stand up to foreign powers by modernizing the military and promoting 'new learning.' Also, a few words on the surge in overseas Chinese migration during this time, and its relationship to revolutionary nationalist movements to overthrow the Qing Empire.
The books that I quote from in the episode are:
Zheng Yangwen, Ten Lessons in Modern Chinese History (https://www.manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9780719097737/)
Stephen Platt, Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War (https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/131825/autumn-in-the-heavenly-kingdom-by-stephen-r-platt/9780307472212/)