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Postcards from Tomorrow Square: Reports from China Paperback – December 30, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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The author, James Fallows, provides contemporary factual data in the context of humanistic stories of the attempts at modernization and its new semi-capitailsitic economy. He describes China as "simultaneously so controlled and so out of control."
Unlike most contemporrary China-related books read this spring, Fallows work provides a face to the Chinese people from rural to urban areas through their ties to the land or the basic human needs found in each environment. Residing in a region of the United States where coal mining is the basis of the local economy, the death toll of the Chinese mining industry is staggering!
The current and future political, economic and cultural relationship between the United States and China is a repeating theme throughout the book. This theme is probably, to me any way, the most essential element of envisioning the future.
The work earned four stars on content, one star short based simply on the itroductory chapters were not illuminating. All and all, I am glad to have Fallows book in my new China library. It added and reinforced my growing knowledge of the emerging or would-be superpower.
What separates Mr. Fallows work from so many other essayists on China (many of them excellent as well) is his detailed and insightful reporting providing context for his observations. If you are traveling to China this book will help prepare you for the China of the 21st century - especially if you've never been or if has been a long time since you have visited China.
This book belongs on your China shelf besides other classics such River Town, The Last Days of Old Beijing, Mr. China and The Search for Modern China.
My ONLY complaint (as well as quite a few of my peers) is that it jumps around a lot. The book is divided into chapters/subjects that don't really flow with one another, but within those topics Fallows tended to be pretty consistent.