China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to KnowRG [NOOK Book]


The need to understand China has never been more pressing. Within one generation, the global giant has transformed from an impoverished, repressive state into an economic and political powerhouse; yet conflicting impressions of the country and its leaders abound. In the fully revised and updated second edition of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to KnowRG, China expert Jeffrey Wasserstrom-with assistance from Maura Elizabeth Cunningham--provides cogent answers to the most urgent questions regarding ...
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China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to KnowRG

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The need to understand China has never been more pressing. Within one generation, the global giant has transformed from an impoverished, repressive state into an economic and political powerhouse; yet conflicting impressions of the country and its leaders abound. In the fully revised and updated second edition of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to KnowRG, China expert Jeffrey Wasserstrom-with assistance from Maura Elizabeth Cunningham--provides cogent answers to the most urgent questions regarding the 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. He provides guidance on the ways we can expect China to act in the future vis-a-vis the United States, Russia, India, and its East Asian neighbors. The second edition has also been updated to take into account changes China has seen in just the past two years, from the global economic shifts to the recent removal of Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai from power.
Concise and insightful, China in the 21st Century provides an excellent introduction to this significant global power.
What Everyone Needs to KnowRG is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press.
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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: 9780199974993
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/1/2013
  • Series: What Everyone Needs to Know
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 2
  • Sales rank: 310,979
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom is a Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Global Shanghai, China's Brave New World, and Twentieth Century China.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Author's Note xiv

Map xviii

Part I Historical Legacies

1 Schools of Thought 1

Who was Confucius? 1

What were Confucius's core ideas? 2

What was his political vision? 2

How important was history to Confucius? 3

Has Confucius always been venerated in China? 4

Was Confucius celebrated in his own times? 5

When did the ideas of Confucius gain influence? 7

How was Confucius viewed a century ago? 8

Is Confucianism a religion? 9

How has Confucius fared since 1949? 10

Why is Confucius back in favor? 11

How exactly is the new regime using Confucius? 13

Did Confucianism hinder imperial China's economic development? 14

Does China have an indigenous "democratic" tradition? 16

What is the Chinese term for democracy and what exactly does it mean? 17

2 Imperial China 19

What were the main early dynasties? 19

How did dynasties rule? 20

What was the "dynastic cycle"? 21

What were the political implications of this cyclical view? 22

Were all dynasties the same? 22

How did dynasties interact with foreign countries? 24

What was the Opium War? 25

Why did the Qing Dynasty fall? 26

What internal developments weakened the Qing? 27

What was the significance of peasant rebellions? 27

What impact did the Opium War have? 28

What was the Taiping Uprising? 29

Why was the 1894-1895 War with Japan so important? 30

What was the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901)? 30

How has this crisis been misunderstood? 31

How does the reputation of the crisis differ In China? 32

Why does this difference in views of the Boxers matter? 32

How did Qing rule finally end? 33

Is the Chinese Communist Party a new dynasty? 34

3 Revolutions and Revolutionaries 36

Who was Sun Yah sen? 36

What happened to Sun after he became president? 37

What was the "Warlord era"? 37

What was the May 4th movement? 38

Who was the most important radical writer of the May 4th era? 39

How does the Communist Party view the May 4th era? 41

Why was the example of the Russian Revolution so important? 42

What was the First United Front? 42

Why was the May 30th movement important? 43

What was the Northern Expedition? 43

Who was Chiang Kai-shek? 44

What was the Long March? 45

What was the Rape of Nanjing? 46

How did the Communists beat the Nationalists? 47

What role have mass campaigns played in the People's Republic of China? 49

What were some important early mass campaigns? 50

What was the Resist America, Support Korea campaign? 51

What was the Hundred Flowers campaign? 52

What happened during the Anti-Rightist campaign? 53

What sort of people were Mao and his main allies? 53

How were Mao's writings viewed? 55

What was the Great Leap Forward? 56

What was the Cultural Revolution? 57

What was the Gang of Four? 59

Why hasn't Mao been repudiated by China's current leaders? 59

What is the alternative to viewing Mao as a monster? 61

Is Mao seen in China as someone who made errors? 62

How do ordinary Chinese feel about Mao? 63

Part II The Present and the Future

4 From Mao to Now 67

Who was Deng Xiaoping? 67

Who were Deng's successors? 69

What exactly did Deng do? 69

How is Deng viewed now? 70

What was the Democracy Wall movement? 71

What is the real story of the Tiananmen Uprising? 72

Why hasn't the Chinese government changed its line on Tiananmen? 75

What effect did the fall of other Communist governments have on China? 76

How did China's rulers avoid falling prey to the "Leninist extinction"? 78

How has the government responded to protests since 1989? 80

Why and how has the CCP suppressed the Falun Gong movement? 81

Who are the Chinese dissidents now? 82

What is the role of the Internet in political dissent? 84

What does the digital divide mean in China? 85

Why were the 2008 Olympics such a big deal for China? 86

What was unusual about China's preparations for the 2008 Olympics? 87

What does the handling of the Olympics say about today's China? 88

Will grand spectacles continue to be important to China? 91

Why hold an Expo so soon after the Olympics? 91

What is the "One-Child Family" policy? 93

Was female infanticide encouraged to help limit population size? 95

Is contemporary China utterly unique? 96

What does China have in common with other countries? 98

Is the Great Firewall of China a unique structure? 100

5 U.S-China Misunderstandings 103

What is the most common thing Americans get wrong about China? 103

Why is China's diversity overlooked? 104

How does ethnicity come into the picture? 105

How important are regional divides? 106

How important are age divides in China? 107

Is China still truly an atheist state? 108

Is China a Big Brother state? 109

What is the biggest source of Chinese misunderstanding of the United States? 112

How do U.S. and Chinese views on Tibet differ? 113

6 The Future 116

Is China bent on world domination? 116

How likely is a war with Taiwan? 118

Will China become the world's dominant economic power? 120

Will China, long thought of as a land of villages, soon be a land of cities? 121

Is China likely to become a democracy? 123

How powerful is Chinese nationalism? 123

What kind of government will China have in a decade? 125

What big challenges lie ahead for the CCP? 126

What big issues relating to the environment and energy does China face? 127

Why is endemic corruption such a serious problem? 129

How can the United States and China adjust to an era in which they are the two superpowers? 131

What other kinds of things do China and the United States have in common? 133

Is this an argument for Americans to refrain from all criticism of China? 134

Notes 137

Further Reading 147

Index 157

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Customer Reviews

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  • 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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