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[A] compelling first draft of history. Grouped by event or theme, the essays cover most of the major news stories of 2008, but with insight and perspective that never made the broadsheets. . . . It places contemporary China in a historical context that mainstream media seldom has the space to do, and offers a diverse and often very personal snapshot of China in one of its most turbulent years. (Far Eastern Economic Review)
Sane, well-informed, and rich in insights. (Asian Review Of Books)
Required reading for anyone trying to make sense of China's tumultuous year. This is the literary equivalent of a rowdy dinner party attended by some of the best and brightest China journalists, scholars, and thinkers. It offers a breadth of opinion and depth of context available only to those with a well-thumbed Rolodex of China specialists. But the book is accessible to the ordinary reader, and it combines the up-to-the-minute excitement of a blog with quirky academic takes on history in the making. (Louisa Lim, National Public Radio, Shanghai correspondent)
I've never been to China, but I've become a China-watcher thanks to the wonderful China Beat blog. This book is the best of that blog―and more. It's a fascinating way to get under China's skin. (Mary Beard, University of Cambridge)
There is more than enough here to keep any reader intrigued and instructed. (Jonathan D. Spence, from the foreword)
I've never been to China, but I've become a China-watcher thanks to the wonderful China Beat blog. This book is the best of that blog--and more. It's a fascinating way to get under China's skin.
--This text refers to the
CHINA IN 2008 was -- as Professor Jonathan D. Spence says in its rather optimistic preface -- a bold literary experiment which went where no China book had trodden before. In this reviewer's opinion, it was an experiment that succeeded resoundingly well, and I'm about to tell you why...
The premise of the book was a wonderfully straightforward one: China's 2008 was seminal, an action-packed year the likes of which hadn't been seen in the Middle Kingdom before. From the country's Sichuan earthquakes to the nation's "coming out party" otherwise known as the Beijing Olympics -- not to mention a mad heap of socio-political and economic events sandwiched in between -- 2008 supplied copious grist for the mill for China-watching academics, pundits, and journalists. The year contained something for just about everyone, and it was in that can-do spirit which CHINA IN 2008's striving authors Hess, Pomeranz, and Wasserstrom deftly organized the collection.
What emerged was a novel literary stab: a concatenation of the year's most compelling blogposts from their "China Beat" blog [...] an incisive little one-stop shop with its finger placed firmly on the pulse of such things.
Breaking the conventional literary norms we might be more accustomed to from similar China treatments, theirs was an entertaining romp across the entire breadth of the Superpower-In-Waiting. Serving up entries from more than 50 reputable contributors, the vast majority of them noted experts in their respective fields, the book rained down continuous lightning bolts of inspiration as my fingers leafed across its many pages.Read more ›
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Just for the record I did read Ray Huang's _ 1587, A Year of no Significance _. This book is OK but nowhere near as good as the old annual reviews put out by a scholarly group that I used to read faithfully. This book certainly gives a variety of views on a variety of topics but it didn't excite me.
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