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The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers Paperback – 2 Jun 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (2 Jun. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141038853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141038858
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description



(Sunday Times )

Masterful ... entertaining and insightful (Economist )

Superb ... an essential, riveting guide to how the rising power really works (Jonathan Fenby )

If you read only one book about China this year, it should be this one. And if you do not read this book, you probably do not understand China today (Arthur Kroeber China Economic Quarterly )

A compelling exploration of the world's largest and most successful political machine (New Statesman )

A book that is as informative as it is entertaining ... China has been transformed. The system that takes the credit is brilliantly described by McGregor (Chris Patten Financial Times )

McGregor is one of the best foreign journalists who have reported from China. The Party draws on two decades of superb reporting ... A fine contribution for those who want to know about the rising power they will face in the decades ahead (Ezra Vogel, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University )

Few outsiders have any realistic sense of the innards, motives, rivalries, and fears of the Chinese Communist leadership. But we all know much more than before, thanks to Richard McGregor's illuminating and richly-textured look at the people in charge of China's political machinery ... invaluable for anyone trying to make sense of China's future plans and choices (James Fallows, National Correspondent For The Atlantic )

Fascinating and ambitious ... Richard McGregor lays bare the secretive machinery of the party (Gady Epstein Forbes )

McGregor has done the world a service with his fascinating new book (Peter Hartcher Sydney Morning Herald )

A fascinating read ... in an age when Chinese economic influence is reaching new levels, it is an invaluable exercise in understanding the operation of the most powerful political party in the world (Ian Kehoe Sunday Business Post )

A vivid narrative, sprinkled with humour and insight ... amazing characters ... an engrossing read (South China Morning Post )

Gripping ... McGregor brings to life the characters behind the icons of Chinese power and wealth, the figures that built the Shanghai skyline and rebuilt Beijing for the Olympics. More importantly, he gives us a feel for the dynamics behind China's rise (Irish Times )

A lively and penetrating account of a party that ... has clung to secrecy as an inviolable principle (Andrew Higgins Washington Post )

Eminently readable ... McGregor has done a great service to those who would hope to better understand where China's power lies (China Economic Review )

An illuminating glimpse behind the red curtain ... McGregor's lucid dissection shows how top-ranked party members - indeed the party itself - sit outside the law (Metro )

About the Author

Richard McGregor is the China bureau chief for the Financial Times. Since 1990, he has spent all but two years in north Asia, starting in Taiwan, and then in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Beijing, where he established offices for The Australian newspaper. He joined the FT in 2000 in Shanghai and was appointed China bureau chief in 2005. He has also contributed articles and reports to the BBC, the International Herald Tribune and the Far Eastern Economic Review.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By D. P. Mankin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Jun. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read a great many books about China over the last 2-3 years and this is one of the best. It provides some excellent insights into the relationship between the state and commerce in the world's fastest growing econonmy (although India isn't far behind), as well as the centrality of the state in other aspects of Chinese life. I particularly enjoyed the blend of anecdote and analysis, something which lesser writers often fail to get right, thus undermining the quality and rigour of the central thesis. Anyone who believes that countries such as China will morph into a clone of a typical western democracy, because they believe this is the only way free-market capitalism will work, should read this book. Richard McGregor's analysis of China's poltical system is revalatory. He is excellent at highlighting the tensions within the political system and the extent to which the future of the country's political system is inextricably linked to how it develops (or is allowed to develop) its economy. This is a must if you want a much better understanding of how China has been able to transform its economy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Helene on 18 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a Chinese, I tend to think that it is difficult for foreigners to really understand China and provide insightful analysis about the country and its Party. After reading this book, my view has changed completely. I am surprised how good it is, how deep it is and how informational it is. It is a must read for anyone who wants to understand modern communist party!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By peter upton on 27 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent introduction and analysis of contemporary China. McGregor's analysis and insight are very perceptive and he tracks the emergence and shifting power structures within the Communist Party in a fascinating manner. Taking a thematic approach and using very specific examples he takes us on a journey through the complexity of Chinese administration. What you see is certainly not what you get in China as far as this book is concerned. he is very good on the economic analysis of how CP political structures trump economic governance. The basic premise of the book is the shadow world of authority that the CP maintains over the economy has been misread by the western capitalist system. He argues that rather than becoming more like the West China has become more Imperial reinventing itself with a new mandate from Heaven to interpret economic fundamentals. He details how through an extended and closed network of patronage and influence the CP maintains a system of control that is at once devolved and also in key parts highly centralised. The sections on the economy, the milk scandal and internet are very good. This though is not the whole story and he does miss out some of the key tensions currently running through China.

An excellent book, well written and easy to read.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Anthony O'Brien on 28 July 2010
Format: Hardcover
Every now and again, a truly definitive book on China emerges. One such was "Hungry Ghosts", Jasper Becker's account of Mao's disastrous "Great Leap Forward". Another is "The Dragon's Gift," Deborah Brautigam's definitive account of China's involvement in Africa. "The Party", Richard McGregor's investigation of the Chinese Communist Party(CCP), its structure, influence and power, is a truly authoritative work.

McGregor's strength as an author is that "The Party" is not only informative, but also immensely readable. It is enlivened with anecdotes of particular case studies, cadres who have risen and fallen from grace, entrepreneurs who have carved out business empires only to fall foul of the authorities, and Party officials who have made fortunes from bribes, only to be executed as scape-goats for the Party's overall corruption. He reveals the sheer extent and pervasiveness of the Party's grip on China as no other book has yet done. And suddenly, so much of what emerges from China as distinctly alien politics makes perfect sense. The Party has the same hierarchical structure and power as the medieval Church of Rome. Indeed, the sale of Party official posts and favours resembles nothing so much as the sale of indulgences in pre-Reformation Europe. Simony, the buying or selling of ecclesiastical pardons, offices, or emoluments, is exactly paralleled by the sale of similar, secular perks in China by the CCP.

A few quotations will give the spirit of the book, and a quick insight into the flavour of 21st. century Communism, Chinese-style.

"The Party is like God. He is everywhere. You just can't see him." [a professor at People's University in Beijing].

"Listen, we are the Communist Party and we will define what communism is.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Martin McCauley on 22 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
The best book on how the Communist Party of China seeks to retain power. McGregor identifies the military; personnel policy (which also embraces the economic sphere); and information flow as the three pillars on which President Hu Jinatao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao build their power.Ideology plays a functional role and thus is infinitely flexible. As a financial jounalist McGregor provides an incisive analysis of the Deng Xiaoping reforms which began China's long march to prosperity. However he regards the present economic model (excessive reliance on exports and slow development of the domestic market) as unsustainable. Altogether the best study available on modern China. Everyone who visits China or does business there should read it. Martin McCauley
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