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China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2002

    Good but be careful

    I must admit this book was quite amazing, and gave wonderful insight into the Chinese psyche and the problems in modern China. The analgie of the Communist Party to the Old Dynasties is quite insightful into Chinese culture. However while this is an excellent, its not the book for someone who knows little of China. Much of this book concentrates on the terrible hardships and injustices the people endure. While they are no to be ignored, they must be understood. One should have a basic knowledge of CHina and its culture before reading this, lest you be left with a bad impression of the country and its people. A good starting point would be 'Understandig CHina' published in 2001 an fairly comprehensive it is a quick and easy read, with lots of important bits on China's history and culture, where the people are today and where they are going--a good primer for anyone intrested in China with little knowledge of the people. Its also makes for a good read for any Sinophile out there.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2012

    If you really want to understand China, This stream of conscious

    If you really want to understand China, This stream of consciousness rambling by the author is not your best choice. I have read perhaps 100 books about life, people, history and culture in China and this one had absolutely nothing to add to one's knowledge. You are getting more opinion than in-depth analysis and the opinions offered seemed to be based on nothing except the fact that the author has been to China. To understand the modern history of China, a good start would be Wild Swans by Jung Chang, a captivating, never boring, and extremely well written book, exceeded perhaps only by her well documented and excellent biography of Mao Zedong. Additionally there are dozens of excellent books on the Cultural Revolution, both fiction and non-fiction. If you want to read a boring and non-informative book, then this is the one. Jonathan Spence has written several extremely informative books, all somewhat tedious, more like a college history textbook. Anyone who masters Spence's general history books on China will acquire a substantial knowledge of the country and its history/culture, but prepare to be bored. At least you can learn from Spence. I do not recommend his biography of Mao. which is overly summarized, unlike the extremely detailed nature of most of his books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2000

    An Enduring Analysis of China

    Kristoff and WuDunn have managed to collect a series of fascinating stories and vignettes from China which capture the essence of the nation. Though the book is now five years old, I have just reordered it for my China course at the University of South Florida. No use making students read something which is dull and less informative than this volume. Don't be put off too much by the pessimistic tone of the authors in the first half of the book. There is lots wrong with communist China. But the second half is more up-beat, and they end on an optimistic note.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2000

    This Book Is a Gem

    I emigrated from China when I was fourteen. In the twenty years or so of being in the US I've never found another book on the subject of modern China as insightful and heart-warming as 'China Wakes'. The strength of the book lies in the interviews, account after account, that the authors conducted not only in the 'tourist spots' but also in the remote regions. My years of growing up there confirm their stories, if not in substance, at least in spirit. Their conclusions, always carefully disclaimed as personal and not absolute (which add to, rather than detract from, the authors' authenticity), are both logical and even-handed. I found myself respecting the author's opinions, even when in a few instances when I disagreed with them. If there were anything which may make this book less well-accepted, I think it would be the lack of academic psycho-babbles which so proliferates in the literary and journalistic elite. But for the rest of us who haven't mastered the art of obfuscation, this book is a gem.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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