China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know

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2010-04-16 Hardcover Fair 019539447X No dust jacket. Text is clean and unmarked! Has a small black line on bottom/exterior edge of pages. Tracking is not available for orders ... shipped outside of the United States. If you would like to track your domestic order please be sure to select the Priority/Expedited Shipping option. Read more Show Less

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The need to understand this global giant has never been more pressing: China is constantly in the news, yet conflicting impressions abound. Within one generation, China has transformed from an impoverished, repressive state into an economic and political powerhouse. In China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know, Jeffrey Wasserstrom provides cogent answers to the most urgent questions regarding the newest superpower and offers a framework for understanding its meteoric rise.

Focusing his answers through the historical legacies--Western and Japanese imperialism, the Mao era, and the massacre near Tiananmen Square--that largely define China's present-day trajectory, Wasserstrom introduces readers to the Chinese Communist Party, the building boom in Shanghai, and the environmental fall-out of rapid Chinese industrialization. He also explains unique aspects of Chinese culture such as the one-child policy, and provides insight into how Chinese view Americans.

Wasserstrom reveals that China today shares many traits with other industrialized nations during their periods of development, in particular the United States during its rapid industrialization in the 19th century. Finally, he provides guidance on the ways we can expect China to act in the future vis-à-vis the United States, Russia, India, and its East Asian neighbors.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Acclaim for the China in the 21st Century:
"a lively and vigorous primer" - Ian Johnson, New York Review of Books

"Wasserstrom is a sure-footed guide through the thickets of China's history and the turbo-driven landscape of its current affairs. Indispensable reading."
—Andrew Ross, author of Fast Boat to China: Lessons from Shanghai

"Readers who know a fair bit about China already will be left better informed, looking at what they already knew in another light. Readers new to the subject couldn't start in a better place."

"Wasserstrom, a preeminent scholar of Chinese history, here provides a useful resource for those who want a greater understanding of the how and why of China's emergence as a global power."
—Library Journal

"Wasserstrom has accomplished a remarkable feat: melding the insights from deep scholarly immersion in history with an up-to-the-minute grasp on contemporary developments in China and beyond. Written in a crisp prose ... questions big and small, alarmingly complex and deceptively simple—from who Confucius was to how the Communists defeated the Nationalists and whether China was bent on world domination—are answered with aplomb and precision."
—Haiyan Lee, Stanford University

"Jeffrey Wasserstom has found the perfect collaborator in Maura Cunningham. Together, they have produced, analyzed, and digested more of the best research on China's past and present than a reader could ever hope to match. And now they have taken on the hardest question of all: What truly matters most in understanding China? In this crystalline and up-to-date edition, they have given us the answers. I keep this book within reach at all times."
—Evan Osnos, China Correspondent, The New Yorker Magazine, Beijing

Library Journal
Wasserstrom (history, Indiana Univ.; China's Brave New World), a preeminent scholar of Chinese history, here provides a useful resource for those who want a greater understanding of the how and why of China's emergence as a global power. Concisely, Wasserstrom demystifies issues such as Tibet, Tiananmen Square, Taiwan, and the Falun Gong. Emphasizing contexts for understanding China's rapid industrialization and modernization, he delves into China's history from the age of dynastic imperialism, to the period of Western and Japanese colonialism, and finally to the Communist era and its continued shaping of the country's present-day course. China's near-overnight transformation from an indigent peasant state to a political and economic superpower becomes apparent. Perhaps most illuminating is the book's comparative analysis with Western nations, carefully constructed around examples of similarities between contemporary China (since the 1980s) and the United States during its own industrialization during the 19th century. VERDICT Offering much insight, especially to readers unfamiliar with the topic, Wasserstrom crafts a balanced view of China's often misunderstood political regime and cultural nuances. Recommended for those who want a basic comprehension of Chinese recent history and politics.—Allan Cho, Univ. of British Columbia Lib., Vancouver
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195394474
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/16/2010
  • Series: What Everyone Needs to Know Series
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom is Chancellor's Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. His previous books include Global Shanghai, China's Brave New World, and Twentieth-Century China.

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Table of Contents


Author's Note


Part I: Historical Legacies
1. Schools of Thought
2. Imperial China
3. Revolutions and REvolutionaries

Part II:
4. From Mao to Now
5. U.S.-China Misunderstandings
6. The Future

Further Reading

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2010

    Good Start!

    If you want a good overview of China to date and its history this is a great place to start. I plan to move onto more China books using this one as an excellent start.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2012

    Full of clear explanations of fast-changing Chinese realities an

    Full of clear explanations of fast-changing Chinese realities and thoughtful comparisons with American experience. Wasserstrom is a friendly, capable guide, dealing with tons of the questions Westerners normally raise. Along the way he compares the career of Mao Zedong with that of Andrew Jackson. He compares American views on ethnic unrest in Xinjiang with those of Indian journalists, who have their own familiarity with ethnic disturbances.

    Along with his compact explanations, Wasserstrom directs the reader to a host of good websites and books. He calls for a corresponding book on what everyone in China should know about the USA.

    --author of A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2011

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    Posted January 7, 2012

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