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Restless Empire: China and the World Since 1750 Paperback – 4 Sep 2014

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (4 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099569590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099569596
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 613,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Written by one of the most distinguished scholars on China, this book brings clarity and insight into complex historical issues" (Jung Chang)

"Thorough, fast-moving, and consistently clear. Restless Empire gives an excellent introduction to the vagaries of China’s foreign relations over the last 250 years" (Jonathan Spence, author of The Search for Modern China)

"An authoritative and lucid history of China’s foreign relations from the peak of the Qing dynasty in the eighteenth century to the present day. Anyone seeking to understand the role China may play in our future world should start with this book" (Stephen R. Platt, author of Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom)

"An essential guide to modern China’s often violent encounter with the rest of the world" (Frank Dikotter, author of 'Mao’s Great Famine')

Book Description

A prizewinning historian and expert on Chinese foreign relations examines China's relationship with the outside world over the last 250 years, showing how the past will set the course for China's future.

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Format: Paperback
I don't ever write reviews, but I wanted to balance out the joke of the only other review, giving 1 star. This is an excellent work, particualrly in showing how foreigners going to China and the Chinese abroad have had important effects on Chinese discourse about the wider world. Westad is a genuine expert, and this book is very worth reading.
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Format: Hardcover
The author is obviously knowledgeable about international affairs but I am afraid this book is little more than a long series of newscast-type generalities about China's external relations, and does not contain much new information beyond the occasional anecdotal piece (e.g. Barack Obama attended the same school in Honolulu where Sun Yat Sen had been a student a hundred years earlier)or a few paragraphs cited from already published material or official memos. On the basis of my own experience in China and other readings (and movies-don't miss "China: A Century of Revolution"), I agree in the main with the author's general assessment but I mostly felt like I was having a chat with him over coffee instead of poring over several hundred pages of a historical treatise, which the book purports to be. In some instances, the book falls very short of expectations, as when the author states that China has a better historical case with regard to the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, but provides no explanation of why. I also expected lots more about recent developments and future prospects for Hong Kong and the SEZs, Taiwan, relations with Singapore, Chinese diaspora and public diplomacy (Confucius Institutes all over the world- what are they doing?), and current European interests in China. They get little or no coverage. In sum, another example of a book with the word China in the title but very little analysis inside. Honestly, I even wonder whether the author knows Mandarin well. Can you imagine a book about the history of the last 200 of the US by someone who didn't know English?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars 22 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable non-American perspective, very well-grounded 9 Jun. 2013
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Terrific review of Chinese identity, the formative traumas over two centuries, clearly grounded in deep experience of dialogue and interaction with people in China over several decades. Fascinating facts throughout, many drawn from Asian sources, that are arranged fairly systematically, without falling into the trap of a miscellany. Highly worthwhile read, in view of this Mandarin-speaking diplomat after four years of my own efforts to engage the Middle Kingdom.
4.0 out of 5 stars Very accessible writing and good place to start for those of us with little ... 19 April 2017
By Barbara Wolf - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Enjoying this book and learning a ton. Very accessible writing and good place to start for those of us with little knowledge of China.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars intelligent, fast-paced and enjoyable 29 May 2015
By dplatter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just bought this today and have read Chapter 6 already. What a pleasure to read something so clear, intelligent, fast-paced and enjoyable. If you want something deep, but you're worried about getting stuck with a dry, academic and unappealing book - this is the one for you.
5.0 out of 5 stars the information and writing style is fantastic. I am rethinking many of my thoughts about ... 1 May 2017
By Donald Mallory - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read extensively on China. This is a book you don't want to put down, the information and writing style is fantastic. I am rethinking many of my thoughts about China.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 6 Jan. 2017
By ridge runner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Outstanding, fascinating account of Chinese history which explains the factors behind today's China.
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