on August 16, 2000
Editors Weston and Jensen have set a high goal for themselves, eschew the highly polarized and stereotypical American debate about China and look into what is happening in the last major economy to experience modernization. In their introductory essay they make the point that contact between the US and China has never had the breadth and depth it has now. The exchange of people and ideas is significant. They remind the reader that the Chinese and American societies share a sense of exceptionalism than can be the basis of cooperation and confusion. Wasserstrom underlines the anti-intellectualism of treating China in either/or 'paralying polarities'. Each author in turn discusses some facet of Chinese society, economy, or culture and how it is faring under the stress of modernization. Each essay presents the reader with the realization that China and its new leaders face daunting problems. Whatever China's goals energy needs, environmental degradation, and new identities may be more than speed bumps on the road to modernization. Real problems realistically reviewed is the fulfilled promise of this volume.
on October 4, 2001
This is a significant book that does more than bring together a number of apposite and informative papers to provide a comprehensive picture of China at the turn of the century. The volume as a whole engages with and interrogates the environments of information, political representation and policy choice behind the headlines or soundbites, popular perceptions of the "other" and the role that scholars play in their production and interpretation. In this respect it is a self-reflexive volume of professional interest within and beyond the China field.
Scholars and interested lay people who have never lived in China should read this book. So should politicians, journalists and government officials working on China.
--The China Journal