9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Can't see the Wood for the Trees,
This review is from: The Changing Face of China: From Mao to Market (Paperback)
I was very disappointed with this book. Gittings clearly is an expert on his subject. But he writes for an equally-expert audience. This book is not for the interested man in the street looking for the big picture. There is a huge amount of detail about political machinations and the internal debates about the direction of socialism in China, but no proper context. There are frequent references to important events without explanation of what they are. Timelines are also very confusing - hardly anything is presented in chronological order, the only help in this respect being a 4-page Chronology in the Appendix. There is also no clear explanation of how China is governed (in particular how leaders and the ruling group are chosen), how decisions are made, or the key policies of successive leaders/governments. Perhaps what this book needs is not a 4-page Chronology at the back but a 40-page summary at the beginning outlining the key stages in the development of China during this period, which would put all the detailed material into context.