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High-Speed Empire: Chinese Expansion and the Future of Southeast Asia Paperback – May 1, 2018
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“A US-based journalist, Doig travels through Laos, Malaysia and Thailand, spinning an engaging narrative that focuses mostly on China’s 'railway diplomacy'." – James Crabtree, Financial Times
"As Will Doig shows in High-Speed Empire, a short but well-told piece of reportage, projects like ports, roads, and high-speed rail could help Beijing dominate its neighborhood--and then, possibly, other parts of the world....a clear-eyed and detailed look at how Beijing's new infrastructure push is emerging on the ground in South and Southeast Asia." -- Joshua Kurlantzick, Washington Monthly
"Doig writes vividly out of his reporting trips to places like Boten, the Chinese-built 'mini-Macau' on the Laos side of their border; Bandar Malaysia, a controversial terminus development outside Kuala Lumpur; and Forest City, islands built for Chinese expats just off Singapore. High-Speed Empire is a short, fast read, but offers much food for thought." -- John Delury, Global Asia
"The 'high-speed' in the title is a double-entendre reference to China’s regional rail ambitions, but also the speed at which all this change is now coming.... Doig is an engaging writer with a keen eye for the human interest angle and the clever turn of phrase."--Asian Review of Books
"Appropriately fast-paced, High-Speed Empire effectively conveys one big idea: we need more on-the-ground investigations like this of the working of China's ambitious 'Belt and Road Initiative' (BRI). This mega-plan, of which the micro-plans Doig discusses are part, seeks to use not just railways but also shipping lanes, highways and flight routes to connect China to both neighboring and far-flung locales of strategic value." -- Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Times Literary Supplement
""High-Speed Empire is a short book which reads like an extended travelogue. Doig, who previously wrote about urbanization for American news sites, including Salon and the Daily Beast, writes earnestly as a relatively new traveler to Asia. It's hard to write a definitive book on such a work in progress as the Pan-Asia Railway, which may or may not ever be completed. Yet Doig provides a useful introduction to the China-funded construction in Southeast Asia -- a "before" snapshot, the meaning of which we'll know more fully once we've seen the "after." That is an important contribution indeed."--Los Angeles Review of Books
Money talks, and China has it. This vividly observed report shows how Chinese money--both governmental and private--is transforming Southeast Asia." -- Andrew J. Nathan, Class 0f 1919 Professor of Political Science, Columbia University
"A richly textured portrait of how China's infrastructural diplomacy is changing the urban face of its neighbors. It's not easy to find poetry and importance in industrial zones, half-empty malls, and real estate showrooms, but Doig has done just that in sketching the ambitions of China and its people." -- Greg Lindsay, co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We'll Live Next
"Illuminating study of China's ambitious efforts to extend its influence in Southeast Asia by means of a high-speed rail system." -- Kirkus Review
"An excellent and concise introduction to China's rail diplomacy." -- Library Journal
About the Author
- Item Weight : 4.8 ounces
- Paperback : 107 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0997722983
- ISBN-13 : 978-0997722987
- Product Dimensions : 4.9 x 0.5 x 7.4 inches
- Publisher : Columbia Global Reports (May 1, 2018)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,416,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Revealed are China’s method of underwriting projects by having the host country pay for it. This is not the first time it has happened in this fashion in other areas with other projects. And that the story is short on technical details does not detract from the revealing story about the way China conducts its business.
Perhaps the only flaw is the book’s brevity. It leaves the reader wishing for more, either on the same subject or on any other. Either way, readers should not be disappointed.
This book was amazingly well-written in a way that was engaging and easy to understand. I appreciate the amount of detail that the author Will Doig used in the book, providing for us not just a simple definition of what One Belt One Road is, but also delves into its background and inception from historical, cultural, financial, political perspectives and beyond. One of the things I liked most about this book is that it didn’t just look at the project from China’s perspective, but also explored the role of some of the “key players” in the project – specifically Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. This is a perspective that is rarely brought up in the reports from mainstream media so for me, learning about the relationship these countries have with the project as well as its impact on them was a real eye-opener. I learned a lot from reading this book and it helped me put a lot of the articles I had read previously into better perspective. I also appreciate that the author kept the narrative objective, with plenty of examples and factual information, yet relayed in a way that didn’t feel like I was simply reading a news report – definitely no easy feat considering the various perspectives explored here.
For those who are interested in understanding more about China affairs and why the One Belt One Road initiative – however ambitious and superfluous of a project it might seem on the surface – is so important to China and its long-range expansion goals, this book is the perfect read. It is very short (a little shy of 100 pages) yet is tremendously informative and written in a way that makes the otherwise drab subject matter interesting. I found this to be a fascinating read that is definitely recommended!
Received ARC from Columbia Global Reports via NetGalley