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Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power (The Princeton-China Series) Hardcover – April 3, 2011


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Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power (The Princeton-China Series) + The Mind of Empire: China's History and Modern Foreign Relations (Asia in the New Millennium) + Inside China's Grand Strategy: The Perspective from the People's Republic (Asia in the New Millennium)
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Product Details

  • Series: The Princeton-China Series
  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; With a New preface by the author edition (April 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691148260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691148267
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #664,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[I] found Dr. Henry A. Kissinger's comment that it is 'a fascinating study' very much to the point. . . . Given China's growing influence in the world right now, the work should no doubt have a wider readership than might appear the case prima facie. Princeton University Press should be congratulated on producing such a handsome volume. It can be highly recommended for library purchase in its hardback edition."--Malcolm Warner, Asia Pacific Business Review



"[F]or those who welcome a China that is increasingly active at the global level, as well as for those who do not, it seems the time is right to thoroughly engage with the ideas and proposals of prominent Chinese thinkers today like Yan Xuetong. By putting his grand vision for a Chinese 'superpower modelled on humane authority' to the test before it becomes a possible political reality, we will have gained a greater appreciation of China's cultural heritage and, following that, a glimpse at its possible political future."--Mark Chou, Australian Review of Public Affairs



"[T]his collection of essays, mostly by Beijing-based foreign affairs expert and academic Yan Xuetong and beautifully translated by Edmund Ryden, is thought-provoking and worth looking at."--Kerry Brown, Asian Affairs



"While parts of this nicely translated book might be too specific for the general reader, the volume provides stimulating insights not only into the rich world of ancient Chinese thought, but also into the way contemporary Chinese thinkers see the world today. In this respect, the excellent introduction by Daniel Bell and a long interview with Xuetong in the appendix are especially rewarding."--Michael Rochlitz, Political Studies Review

From the Inside Flap


"China's great thinkers from the time of Confucius are known for their profound contributions to philosophy, ethics, and military strategy. Less appreciated in the West is their sophisticated thinking about statecraft. The incessant conflicts among the fragmented principalities that eventually formed a unified China in 221 BC produced a rich flowering of conceptual thinking on issues of governance and interstate relations. In this fascinating study, inquiring readers will find a wealth of information regarding how ancient China's strategic sages assessed the factors determining the success or failure of rulers and states, with immediate relevance for better understanding the implications of China's current rise to wealth and power."--Dr. Henry A. Kissinger


"China's increasing strength and influence in the modern world are confronting Chinese with a new set of intellectual challenges in assessing how the country's enhanced status will affect Chinese behavior, how other countries will react, and what policies China should adopt to optimize its interests. Not surprisingly, thoughtful Chinese are looking for clues in their distant past, two and a half millennia ago, when the competition over six centuries among the political enclaves that eventually formed a united China prompted an outpouring of philosophical thinking on issues of statecraft. This stimulating book examines this thinking in ways relevant both to international relations theory and China's emerging position in world affairs."--J. Stapleton Roy, former U.S. ambassador to China


"Xuetong Yan, one of China's liveliest and most provocative international relations scholars, provides an excellent introduction to ancient Chinese theories of statecraft. Combined with the responses of his critics, his thoughtful essays reveal the exciting intellectual ferment among China's international relations thinkers. Many of the concepts are recognizable to Western scholars, some are not, but Yan's masterful effort to show how all these ideas might be relevant to China's 'rise' should be read by everyone who is interested in understanding how the past may influence the present."--Alastair Iain Johnston, Harvard University



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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This collection of essays explores the relevance of the writings of significant pre-Qin thinkers about ancient Chinese statecraft to facilitate a better understanding of modern international relations. The pre-Qin thinkers covered include Guanzi, Laozi, Confucius, Mencius, Mozi, Xunxi, and Hanfeizi.

The book consists of three essays by Professor Yan Xuetong (Director, Institute of International Studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing), three essays by other Chinese scholars who comment upon and critique the views of Professor Yan, and another essay by Professor Yan in response to his critics. The book also has three short Appendices: The first Appendix provides a brief description of the Spring and Autumn and Warring Periods in China, and brief synopsis of seven pre-Qin masters. The first Appendix provides useful background information for readers not familiar with the period of ancient Chinese history discussed in the substantive essays. The second Appendix has an interview of Professor Yan that explores his life and academic career. Although somewhat interesting, the second Appendix is not essential for the main topic of the book. The third Appendix is an essay by Professor Yan on why there is no modern Chinese school of international relations. The Third Appendix makes some interesting observations, but it also is not essential for the main topic of the book.

The book provides an interesting look at the political philosophy of ancient Chinese thinkers, and how consideration of their views could provide some ideas and insights to facilitate a better understanding of modern international relations.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Penn on July 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As Henry Kissinger shows in his new book On China, Chinese history has shaped its approach to foreign relations. But he doesn't say much about China's future. Here's where Yan Xuetong's book is particularly helpful (Yan's book is endorsed as a "fascinating study" by Kissinger himself on the cover). Yan Xuetong argues that China's foreign relations can and should draw on the lessons of ancient Chinese political philosophy. The book is clearly written and will interest anyone who cares about what Chinese intellectuals are thinking (as opposed to what foreigners think they should be thinking) and what it may mean for China's political future. Yan himself is a rare combination of influential foreign policy analyst and excellent scholar writing for future generations.
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By Mr S Tan on December 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
High on jargon. Arguments difficult to decipher and not particularly interesting when you do.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eugene Eccli on August 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This comparative analysis of traditional Chinese thinkers is well done. The author also tries to suggest how their thinking is still relevant to current Chinese diplomacy
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By maciek on March 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Unique insight into traditional Chinese thought provided with comments and comparison to the contemporary China, exceptional book among english-language offer
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