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Why China Will Never Rule the World: Travels in the Two Chinas Paperback – September 15, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
It is impossible to address all issues within the limits of an amazon review, but I will try to cover the most important ones. The book has three parts: 2 different China trips and a Taiwan trip. It also has 3 different genres for the price of 1: travel account, history summary, and speculation about the future.
We don't seem to have disagreements on the past, the atrocious history. That agreement is certainly to some extent due to our shared reading: Jung Chang, Iris Chang, Fairbanks, Spence, Becker, Fenby, Seagrave....
The travel itinerary covers almost only places that I have also visited over the last 25 years. However, I tend to travel a little more comfortably. Generally, my perspective and my scope of experience are different from the writer's. I am not that much exposed to the cheap and ugly side of the place. I also seem to get to eat well much more often. That is possibly the reason why I am more positive about daily experiences. I rarely run into the aggravating `no can do' attitude that frustrates the writer so (I have heard of the `mei you banfa', but I don't meet it.) His itinerary leaves out some stunning places (which, admittedly, are all more or less afflicted by the symptoms of mass tourism.) All in all the China travels in this book are a bit too negative for my taste, while Taiwan comparisons seem a little biased to the positive side.Read more ›
This is not to say that I think the West, including the US, is invulnerable; just that I don't see a single nation ascending to rule the world. I prefer the view put forth by Fareed Zakaria in his excellent book, The Post-American World. That book is reasoned and nuanced, while many of these 'China rising' books seem to me to be based on fear. They explain why the West is doomed and how the Chinese are going to take over, the implication being that we non-Chinese should prepare to become enslaved. This sort of fear-mongering serves no one except those who write these books and their publishers. So for that reason alone, Parfitt's book is welcome to me.
I understand that Parfitt's book is an opinion; he is not simply reporting facts. He never claims that he is. He merely argues for a different interpretation of China's history and its current circumstances. And his argument is well made. At various points in the book it is also hilarious.Read more ›
But what about all of the other talk, also naïve in its emphasis, about China achieving unquestioned superpower status. Troy Parfitt, a Canadian teacher in Asia, was curious about this very Western perception of China and set out to explore that nation and assess its recent transformation. This book is the result. "Why China Will Never Rule the World" is an inartfully named book that argues that the actual nation does not live up to the Western hype. As much an anything it is a travelogue, and as such it provides a fair measure of understanding about the Chinese. Parfitt visited 17 of 22 provinces in China.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found this book a very enjoyable read. Some of the criticisms levelled at it concern the author's points of view; but surely he is entitled to have arrived at them on the basis... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Luowanfu
Excellent book packed with erudite insights and personal anecdotes from travel experience in both mainland and Taiwan. Read morePublished 7 months ago by F. Li
Don't you just hate it when you buy a book whose title promises something contentious, interesting, and maybe substantive, only to find upon reading that it is instead superficial,... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Doug Thacker
This travel book paints a fascinating contrast between China, Taiwan and the West in terms of the differing cultures and ways of life and work. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Fergus Bannon
Buyers beware: the author is not bashing China and the CCP, the author is out to bash the ordinary Chinese, and everything connected with them in relentless, remorseless,... Read morePublished on February 26, 2014 by Sceptique500
I found the book to be what I expected insofar as it is written by a Canadian. I'm sure he went round China with maple leaves in his lapel and pockets full to give away. Read morePublished on January 8, 2014 by PeterS
I just read the Kindle edition and was delighted throughout. The book won't disappoint for sheer reading entertainment or for educational value as the author incorporates a very... Read morePublished on July 7, 2013 by Layne Zyler
I do not think the author really knows much about China and what makes China works. What he wrote is a China in the eyes of a westerner with bias preconception.Published on February 26, 2013 by R S Chan