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Interesting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of Prestige Paperback – March 28, 2013

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Just World Books (March 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935982265
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935982265
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marshall P. Adair on May 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is terrific! I wish all Americans would read it. Chas Freeman has been a central figure in rebuilding the Sino-American relationship over the last 40 years. No one is more qualified to describe it, and no one is better at presenting it in the perspective of rational American and global interests. Ambassador Freeman's presentation is fascinating: a series of his speeches and papers given across almost the entire span of this relationship's birth and growth - woven together with commentary from the present. We see history as it was seen then, with a retrospective that makes those times and those decisions both more understandable and more human. It's his story, it's history and it's important to all of us.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Emily on July 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
Interesting Times is an insightful book that everyone interested in American foreign policy should read. Chas Freeman is clearly an expert on the subject of China and its relationship with the United States, having served as Nixon's interpreter during his 1972 visit to China, as well as working for the U.S. State Department, the Foreign Service, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, and the Defense Department. His personal experiences in foreign policy inform his writing, both directly - the book is organized around papers he wrote and speeches he gave, and he is able to back up his statements with first-hand evidence - and indirectly - he ends up with a point of view radically different from that of someone who had merely studied conventional political theory. The organization of the book makes it much more interesting than it would be if he had just written a standard piece of historical non-fiction; the mixture of his past writing and present commentary helps the reader develop a deeper, more contextual understanding of the issues. Although Freeman's writing tends to be a bit dry at times, he explains things very clearly, and sometimes, he throws in an unexpected (and often humorous) metaphor or anecdote that reveals a more human side to all of the diplomacy - even the title of the book is a reference to a legendary Chinese curse. Having spent a significant amount of time in China, Freeman is able to show how Chinese culture affects the country's politics, as well as pointing out where American assumptions about China fall short. He speaks frankly and is not afraid to offend, and he does an extremely thorough job of examining all aspects of the relationship between the two countries, looking at history as well as his predictions for the future, military as well as diplomatic relationships, and geography.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William McCahill Jr on December 10, 2013
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This is a terrific book. It expands the reader’s mind with countless original, “never thought of it quite that way” insights. Moreover, with its strategic sweep across Asia, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, the book gives the reader a clear lens on the past four decades’ historic changes in those still unstable regions. It distills a coherent world view from an often confusing kaleidoscope of crises and cultural conflicts.
This book should appeal to a wide audience: government policy planners, investors in emerging markets, scholars and students of international relations, readers with a general interest in recent history and current world affairs – all will find value in Interesting Times. No dry tome or tedious textbook, Interesting Times reads easily, as if it were a conversation among friends. Freeman is a superb prose stylist, and important parts of the book derive from his speeches and topical commentaries. The book’s value is enhanced by a rich compendium of original source materials stored on the book’s companion website and referenced clearly throughout.
With senior diplomatic experience spanning greater China, India and the Islamic world – a unique trifecta in the American Foreign Service – Freeman analyses the relationships among those distinct polities as no other scholar or policy maker could. The core of the book addresses contemporary China, its relations with its neighbors and with the United States. Freeman’s analyses, often drawn from his own discussions with Asian political and military leaders, could not be more timely as China jostles the strategic status quo in the western Pacific.
Besides the strategic vision that Interesting Times offers, it also gives the reader “the first drafts of history” for events in which Freeman himself participated.
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