Wealth and Power

Wealth and Power

China's Long March to the Twenty-first Century

Book - 2013
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"Through a series of ... portraits of iconic modern Chinese leaders and thinkers, two of today's foremost specialists on China provide a panoramic narrative of this country's rise to preeminence that is at once analytical and personal. How did a nation, after a long and painful period of dynastic decline, intellectual upheaval, foreign occupation, civil war, and revolution, manage to burst forth onto the world stage with such an impressive run of hyperdevelopment and wealth creation--culminating in the extraordinary dynamism of China today?"--Dust jacket flap.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2013.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780679643470
0679643478
Branch Call Number: 951.05 SCH
Characteristics: 478 p. : ill., map ; 25 cm.
Additional Contributors: Delury, John

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1aa
Feb 09, 2017

Its rather awkward to rate this book: from a 'serious history' point of view, its okay; from a 'biographical' point of view, its again only okay. But, just like those Penguin editions of Plutarch, one gets a sense of great (or at least interesting) lives and the times they lived in, over a long span - in the case of this book, about two hundred tumultuous years. This way of writing history is not common, but it does effectively impart to the reader a comprehension of larger spans of historical time, large scale social changes, and accidents, both good and bad, and thereby allow the reader to re-see their own society and their place it from different dimensions from what one may customarily view it from. And that is what makes it an excellent book.

w
wyenotgo
Feb 08, 2016

An overarching theme of this book is China's long struggle to overcome its nearly two centuries of humiliation at the hands of foreign powers. Justifiably proud of an ancient and highly accomplished culture, China has been punished by a succession of invading armies, colonized by imperialist aggressors, exploited by foreign business interests, offended by proselytising missionaries. All of which has been so difficult for China to tolerate that despite their starkly conflicting political approaches, a whole succession of governments and revolutionary movements have all shared a determination to set China on a course toward self-determination, ascendancy and prosperity.
The question that remains unanswered is whether the latest regime, an incongruous marriage of so-called "communist" one-party rule and unbridled capitalist oligarchy shall in the end truly overcome China's sad history and achieve true stability in addition to "Wealth and Power". Indeed, the writers have not even succeeded in determining how much of China's newfound success is real and how much is grandiose stage decoration concealing fraudulent and failed business schemes. There is no mention of China's complete lack of business transparency. The current state of the millions of agrarian and urban poor is hardly touched upon, nor do they address the appalling degree of state censorship, abuse of minorities, "disappearances" of opponents, mock trials and party corruption at all levels. It seems to me that the writers have been mesmerized by ostentatious sudden wealth and feats of engineering.

s
SeattleSaul
Feb 09, 2015

This book explains in well-documented detail how China graduated from its position of foreign exploitation, ignorance and poverty to its status as one of the major world economic and military powers. Chinese thinkers knew since the Boxer Rebellion that China needed to change to enter the modern world or cease to be a country altogether. It took more than a century and how and what emerged was unimaginable then. Highly recommended reading.

peterbaileybc Dec 02, 2013

Essential reading for today's global leaders and followers.

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