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China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power Paperback – August 1, 1995
History To Repeat & Some To Not
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
--Peggy Spitzer Christoff, Oak Park, Ill.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The latter fact has drawn much fire in other reviews, that murders and scandals are hardly representative of any country. While I concur, it also reveals the major problem of Western journalism on China: ignoring the big picture in favor of the exciting story. I have enormous respect for Kristoff and Wudunn as professional journalists, and for their colleagues now working for the NY Times in China. The current Beijing correspondent has done amazing work on the cover-up of the AIDS epidemic in China, the Shanghai correspondent has broken ground with his coverage of organ harvesting in prisons, and another of their staff has done notable work on labor unrest. Those stories are important and provide insight into the larger workings of the machine that is China, but compiled together would create a rather skewered version of the very complicated entity that is China. Unfortunately, what the average American wants to read on China is such sound bytes.
I read this book five years ago for a college class, just after returning from my first trip to China. Even then, it was outdated. A deeper criticism, though, is the book's Beijing bias. I, granted, have my own bias as a Shanghai-lander, but it's frustrating reading books by Beijing-based expats. In Beijing, politics is everything and everything is politics, and foreigners, especially journalists, are sequestered into isolated compounds.Read more ›
By the time I read this, in 2006, the book was already over a decade old, and given how fast and drastically China has been changing over the past several decades, it's easy to dismiss this book as already irrelevant, and indeed, many of the topics it discusses are already dated. However, I still enjoyed reading China Wakes because it was an interesting exercise in comparing the authors' predictions with the results, more than 10 years later.
My personal verdict? I think as reporters for a world renowned newspaper, Kristoff and WuDunn had both the vigor to find fascinating stories and the writing skill to really capture the emotions and issues evolved, but at the same time, I think the unique position as reporters detracted from their credibility in making predictions for China's future. Exactly because they were reporters, they met the richest of the rich, the most corrupt of the corrupt, the poorest of the poor, and the most persecuted of the persucted. This self selecting, though admitted (albeit in the final chapter) by the authors, indeed does present a rather skewered, extremely bipolar image of China: in fact, the running theme of the book is reconciling the dual images of China as a vibrant economic miracle and China as a brutal and repressive "thugocracy." Unfortunately, because of this, it seems as most of their sensationalistic predictions, and the confidence in which they foresee the coming "collapse of the Communist dynasty," are misguided.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mr Kristof and wife are a great duo!
I love all of them and social justice
matters then this is a must read!
I Love this book and You will To!
Very well-written primer on China's economic, political and cultural transition in the late twentieth century. Read morePublished on March 26, 2011 by John D. Bartone
I'm still in the early stages of reading this book, some of the chapters are boring, but the majority is not, it seems like the further I get into the book the interesting it gets,... Read morePublished on January 10, 2010 by PBarber
Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, a husband and wife who lived in Beijing 1989-93 as journalists for the New York Times, have a keen insight on China's struggles with it's rapid... Read morePublished on September 13, 2009 by Samuel M. Brummitt
There is a genre of Western writing on China (and on Asia, more generally) which takes what is bad, sensational or exotic - and amplifies it. Read morePublished on August 19, 2009 by syc
Here we have a book written by a married couple, they alternate writing chapters as i recall....
good book...they or she get followed around and mistreated... Read more