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The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers Hardcover – 3 Jun 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; First Edition 5th Impression edition (3 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846141737
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846141737
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 372,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Superb in its depiction and demystification of the most important force at work in China today. Essential, riveting guide to how the rising power really works (Jonathan Fenby, Author Of The Penguin History Of Modern China )

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 )

This is a marvellous and finely written study of how China is really run, and how its strange but successful system of Leninist capitalism really works. It should be read by anyone doing business with or just trying to understand China (Bill Emmott, Former Editor Of The Economist )

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 )

Indispens­able. 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 book that is as informative as it is entertaining, and rich in the sort of anecdotes that put flesh on the bones of his arguments ... China has been transformed. There is no denying it. The system that takes the credit is brilliantly described by McGregor (Chris Patten Financial Times )

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 insightful analysis ... McGregor balances exposition of a heavy and intellectually demanding subject with anecdotes, lively quotes and word portraits of amazing characters, such as maverick "Mr Idiot Seeds", Nian Guangjiu, or arrogant, reckless former Shanghai party boss Chen Liangyu ... An engrossing read (South China Morning Post )

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

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 )

Illuminating and important ... McGregor has been able to write a lively and penetrating account of a party that, since its founding ... has clung to secrecy as an inviolable principle (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 )

[Mcgregor] has done a terrific job of parting the curtains [and] makes a convincing case that the party's elite has stealthily made itself more powerful and richer than ever behind a façade of economic reform ... This book has come at the right moment (Michael Sheridan Sunday Times )

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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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By D. P. Mankin TOP 500 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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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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An eye opener even for a China veteran. Confirms many of the assumptions one makes about the role of the Party and a valuable reminder of how the country operates. Read it if you have any interest in the PRC but remember as you read that every country has its demons...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jambutty on 7 Sep 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a very well written book by someone who has lived his subject, not just researched it. From the perspective of someone who wants to know far more about China and its prospects, but with only skin-deep current knowledge, this fills in some of the bigger gaps. In execution, the author has looked at major events and developments, and shows how the CP both reacted and evolved as a result. A fascinating insight into one of today's economic powerhouses, but with no hyperbole and with a healthy dose of realism. China is almost an enigma, and this book helps to uncover why it is what it is, and also the problems it faces in the future. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By peter upton on 27 Aug 2010
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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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