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LAST WORD: A China Reading List
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A China Reading List

By Mike Cormack

BT 201710 LAST 01 副本      片荒的朋友去看影评,书荒的朋友不妨看看本期Last Words为大家推荐的书单。此次为大家罗列出了近年外国作者著作的有关我国的作品,相信大家看后一定会有不一样的感受和思路。首先介绍由英国作家马丁•雅克 (Martin Jacques)所写的《当中国统治世界》,这位作者学贯东西,是中国人民大学访问学者以及伦敦经济学院亚洲研究中心客座研究员。曾在多所大学任教,创办英国智库Demos,亦有丰富的新闻从业经历。马丁•雅克在书中探讨了中国经济发展的模式,从欧洲崛起探讨到亚洲国家的发展,而后考查了东亚国家与西方世界的不同,并得出结论:东亚不可能遵从西方的发展模式,东亚将保持自己的特色来发展经济,而东亚最重要的国家是中国,中国将走出自己的发展之路。

      “中国文化的一大特点是,中国人的价值观在本质上是世俗的。”这句话出自美国作家亨利•基辛格所著的《论中国》一书。作者以一位资深外交家和思想家的独特视角,分析和梳理了中国自鸦片战争以来的外交传统,从围棋文化与孙子兵法中探寻中国人的战略思维模式,特别是试图揭示新中国成立以来,中国外交战略的制定和决策机制,以及对“ 一边倒”的外交政策、抗美援朝、中美建交、三次台海危机等等重大外交事件来龙去脉的深度解读。作为历史的亲历者,基辛格博士还在书中记录了自己与毛泽东、邓小平等几代中国领导人的交往。

      除上述两本书之外,值得一读的还有前IMF中国部主任普拉萨德(Eswar Prasad)剖析人民币崛起的书《Gaining Currency》,普利策奖得主张彦(Ian Johnson)介绍中国宗教近况的著作《中国灵魂:宗教在后毛泽东时代的回归》,亚洲问题专家汤姆米勒(Tom Miller)对中国在亚洲地位的观察《中国的亚洲梦》等等有着深入见解的书。祝福各位读者在书香中度过一个愉快的十月。


Number of books on China seems to be increasing prodigiously as the country becomes ever more important. Chinese history, business, economy, culture, religion, infrastructure, environment – they’ve all been covered by excellent writers who have spent considerable time on their beat. Here then is a list of books I've read which I think are important. Ninety percent are non-fiction, simply because that's what I prefer reading these days and because there's so much to learn about China - a truly endless subject.

When China Rules the World
By Martin Jacques

BT 201710 LAST 02This book is the Ground Zero of books by foreigners who think China’s ascendency will turn out to be good for the world. It’s probably not a coincidence that it has been written by the former editor of Marxism Today. The book is superbly researched and referenced, but its extrapolations seem naïve in the extreme (it was published in 2008 before the Chinese debt explosion) and its political assumptions on China’s benevolence haven’t played out either. Nonetheless, it’s an important book because it precisely articulates what many see as China’s importance as rival power locus.
 

On China
By Henry Kissinger

BT 201710 LAST 05This is mainly about Chinese diplomacy, particularly its interactions with the USA. The book is interesting enough, but the really fascinating details come when Kissinger discusses his own time as National Security Advisor and then as Secretary of State. His direct interactions with Chinese leaders, particularly Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping, are enormously illuminating. Kissinger includes direct chunks of dialogue, which demonstrate his own obsequiousness and shrewdness on part of Zhou. As an insider account, it’s unbeatable.
 

Gaining Currency
By Eswar Prasad

BT 201710 LAST 04A country’s currency is to large degree a synonym for its economic strength, so little wonder that there is increasing interest in the RMB. Prasad was the head of IMF’s China division, so he possesses a huge amount of knowledge and experience to bring to bear. Starting with a survey of China’s money through ages, from the first uses of paper currency to founding of the People’s Bank in 1948, Prasad illuminates the conflicting desires of China’s monetary policy makers. Though the renminbi is not freely traded, giving the Chinese government great control, it still wishes for a greater international role for its currency as befits a great nation.
 

The Souls of China
By Ian Johnson

BT 201710 LAST 03This book examines the reemergence of religion in China. First it recounts the history of faith in China – folk religions, Daoism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, up to the imposition of state atheism after 1949. Johnson then introduces a number of people involved in various religions around China and examines their pursuit of a more meaningful life. Usually they are searching for meaning, or they are searching for answers. Johnson shows us that hunger for something greater than oneself is probably inherent and is causing many Chinese to turn to religion as they search.
 

China’s Asian Dream
By Tom Miller

BT 201710 LAST 10This is an excellent survey of China’s Belt and Road initiative, examining its effects on various countries and regions, from Central Asia to the South China Sea. Miller has spent substantial shoe-leather on research and fills the book with excellent color and detail. The author is senior analyst for the economic research institute Gavekal Research and managing editor of China Economic Quarterly and illustrates the book with facts, local interviews and data points.
 

The Party
By Richard McGregor
 

Everything you wanted to know about how the Party in China operates.
 

China’s Economy
By Arthur Kroeber

BT 201710 LAST 02This book is likely to be the set text on Chinese economy for the next decade. Written by Gavekal founder Arthur Kroeber, the book takes the reader through current key areas (agriculture, industry, urbanization and the financial system) and evokes the future with chapters on “The Emerging Consumer Society” and “Changing the Growth Model”. For those seeking an overview of China’s economy, there are few better starts.
 

Party Members
By Arthur Meursault
 

Foreigners sometimes get overawed with China – its history, culture, the pace of economic development and so on. So it comes as a pleasant change to read an uproarious scathing satire. This book is bilious and savage and all the better for it. It is, however, for the strong of stomach only – it is based on a central metaphor that is crass and crude, though sometimes devastatingly funny. You will never look at KFC in the same way.
 

Behind The Red Door
By Richard Burger

BT 201710 LAST 07Burger takes the reader through a whirlwind tour of Chinese sexual attitudes and practices, from the permissive Tang to the repressive Maoist eras, dividing chapters into useful sections like “The Family”, “Homosexuality”, “Dating and Marriage” and “The Sex Trade”. The book is a humane and empathetic reflection on people’s most intimate moments.
 

Designated Drivers
By GE Anderson

BT 201710 LAST 06This book is an acute dissection of the Chinese auto industry. Anderson shows how government departments and agencies compete, conflict and (occasionally) agree to a strategic policy and analyzes both the industrial context and policy formulation. There are also case histories of joint ventures (some partnerships being more successful than others) and independents which make up the modern auto sector. Some may find the policy section a little dry, but the case histories are fascinating. (Did you know that Geely bought its first factory from a prison?)
 

There are many other great books out there. Happy reading!

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