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

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

by Nicholas D. Kristof, Kristof
     
 

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"When China wakes, it will shake the world," Napoleon Bonaparte once remarked. That moment is now at hand. And in this book Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the Pulitzer Prize winning Beijing correspondents of The New York Times, bring to life the people, the politics, and the paradoxes of China as never before. China Wakes combines groundbreaking reportage with… See more details below

Overview

"When China wakes, it will shake the world," Napoleon Bonaparte once remarked. That moment is now at hand. And in this book Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the Pulitzer Prize winning Beijing correspondents of The New York Times, bring to life the people, the politics, and the paradoxes of China as never before. China Wakes combines groundbreaking reportage with the authors' personal account of how they came to discover the human stories within the world's most populous nation. Attracted by China's potential for greatness and repelled by its propensity for cruelty, Kristof and WuDunn struggle to reconcile their optimism about China's future with the brutality that always seems to break their hearts. In the pages of China Wakes, the story of China's economic takeoff unfolds before us like passages from a great novel. Kristof and WuDunn, the first married couple ever to win a Pulitzer for journalism, take us with them to meet their friends (and enemies) and share their concerns - especially WuDunn's ambivalence about how, as a Chinese-American, she must come to terms with the legacy of her ancestral homeland. WuDunn takes us along as she slips into a China usually hidden from foreigners, a China of cabinet ministers making unwanted advances on local women and of peasants who cannot afford pants for their children. We also accompany Kristof as he witnesses Chinese troops massacring protesters at Tiananmen Square and later comes face to face with the man who betrayed the leaders of the democracy movement to the police. With the Chinese economy (the world's third largest) on a trajectory to overtake Japan and the United States in the coming decades, Kristof and WuDunn describe a spectacular economic boom that has enabled a twenty-three-year old to start his own airline or a manual laborer to become a millionaire furniture manufacturer. But they also reveal the chilling paradox lurking beneath these rags-to-riches stories: despite the stock markets and the cell

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In one of the best books on contemporary China, Kristoff and WuDunn ponder a central paradox: an explosion of wealth and entrepreneurship in the world's third biggest economy (after the U.S. and Japan) flourishes under a repressive, authoritarian regime. This husband-and-wife team, Pulitzer Prize-winning Beijing correspondents for the New York Times from 1988 to 1993, take us from the Xinjiang region in China's far west, where an Islamic revival threatens Party rule, to occupied Tibet seething with hatred for the Chinese overlords. They report on widespread alienation from the government, massive rural poverty, rampant bribery and corruption, increasing discrimination against women in the workplace, routine abduction and trafficking in women and children. The authors also perceive ``the embryo of a civil society'' emerging that may one day undermine the dictatorship. WuDunn, who is Chinese-American, writes of her sometimes frustrating search for her native identity in a regimented society pervaded by a ``culture of silence.'' Photos. Author tour. (Sept.)
Library Journal
This thought-provoking analysis of daily life in China is the first book to rival Fox Butterfield's China: Alive in the Bitter Sea (LJ 4/15/82). All the authors are New York Times correspondents, but while Butterfield did five years of graduate work in Asian studies, Kristof graduated from law school and WuDunn has an MBA and a master's degree in public administration. As a result, they analyze China in terms of its progress in the areas of civil rights and business. The authors argue that today's leaders are remarkably similar to those of past dynasties but that, given their entrepreneurial energy, Chinese people are living better now than ever before. In interviews with many different types of people, Kristof and WuDunn (who won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the Tiananmen Square massacre) observe that Chinese society is changing slowly in the face of much blatant injustice. On a positive note, they see China as a nation that is beginning to appreciate the benefits of law over imperial rule. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/94.]-Peggy Spitzer Christoff, Oak Park, Ill.
From the Publisher
"Nick Kristof's and Sheryl WuDunn's work as correspondents in China was beyond compare, and now they have written a book every bit as astonishing. China Wakes is filled with anecdote, detail, and analysis of the highest order...This book demands reading, and yet it is a pleasure as well as an education."—David Remnick

"Every page of China Wakes is trenchant, and I cannot think of a reportorial book on China so zealous in investigation and so painstaking in probing issues from every angle."—Ross Terrill, Foreign Affairs

"Thought-provoking and absorbing...Few books on China have done so much to further our understanding. Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn share with the readers their wealth of information, keen observation and intelligent interpretation."—Nien Cheng, author of Life and Death in Shanghai

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812922523
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/30/1994
Pages:
480
Product dimensions:
6.69(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.54(d)

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