The Changing Face of China By John Gittings is the most comprehensive of the four books. (Socialist Review.
The book contains a wealth of information and is certainly a good counterweight to recent books which emphasise Mao's personality as the key to China's history in the 20th Century. (Guardian
the history of modern China is an epic one, told superbly by Gittings (Guardian
About the Author
John Gittings was the Guardian's
China specialist and East Asia editor (1983-2003) and opened the newspaper's first staff bureau on the mainland in Shanghai. He began to visit China during the Cultural Revolution and witnessed the major events of the past thirty years, including the Tiananmen Square protests and the Hong Kong handover. He has also taught at the Polytechnic of Central London and was an acting editor of the China Quarterly
. Throughout his working life, he has sought to project a balanced view of China and its role in the world and to avoid uncritical praise or blame in what has always been a controversial field. His books include works on Chinese foreign policy, military affairs, politics, and domestic society. He has also written on international and nuclear politics and was for many years the Guardian's