Learn more Download now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more

Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

on 26 November 2014
New Emperors, despite it's somewhat cliche'd title, is a truly academic work. Kerry Brown, a diplomat by trade has provided an incredibly insightful expose on the new line-up of Chinese Politics. A key theme of this book is networks and how people benefit from such networks, but it also contains unique insights into the now 7 member Politburo Standing Committee. Of course detailed information on Xinhua Jinping and Li Keqiang are included but also of note is info on the other 5, of particular interest being Wang Qishan.
The first part of the book contains much info on the strongly established Jiang Zemin network and how Xinhua Jumping was able to benefit from this via Zeng Qinghong. However, once Xinhua Jumping's rise is established, the book transfers it's interest to the role of the other 6, their background and networks and their current roles.
The concluding chapter offers an insight into the future for the Chinese Communist Party and how it can respond to the challenges it faces, which may be familiar to China observers, but a worthy read nonetheless.
Having read many books on contemporary China, this is by far and away the most detailed expose on the current leadership and essential reading for any would be Sinologists or followers of current events.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 20 July 2014
Kerry Brown is one of the best analysts we have who write about current events in China. The title of this book (Princelings) seems to carry a derogatory tone but in fact it does not. Its a realistic look at how networking and family connections work within a very complex society in which the biggest business company in the world - the CCP - has a monopoly on national political power. In some ways, the way things work in China seem very similar to the systems in the West that produce Kennedys and Bushs in succeeding generations or, in the UK, the conveyor belt of old Etonians (perennially privileged private schoolboys) into government. In other ways they definitely do not and it is here that Brown's analysis is truly valuable.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 9 December 2015
This book is kind of hard work. I think the term "princeling" makes it sounds like lighter fare, but the actual book is more rewarding than the cover implies. It seems almost essential to understand how Chinese politics works in its current incarnation, the many different sources from which the senior leadership gain their internal legitimacy. It covers those senior leaders far better than anything else I've read and is an essential part of reading up on the new, fragile superpower.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 25 August 2014
It was a fascinating book which perhaps needed some prior knowledge of Chinese politics, one also needed to be able to properly read the Chinese names. It was easily written and was reasonably easy to understand. It suggests that a subsequent book will be needed to be able to follow up the individual outcomes of the senior politicians ambitions snd how they were met. Will the senior seven be able to sustain their popularity as well as build the fortunes of China.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 30 August 2015
A very interesting analysis of the current Chinese leadership and their background. While it is difficult to know how accurate the analysis is, it's still sheds a light on one of the most secretive groups in the world.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 27 February 2015
Living in China, I am amazed by the diversity of the country. Politically, China remains intriguing and will play an increasingly influential role in world affairs.
11 Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 8 January 2015
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 12 August 2014
I am a little loathe to do this. As the other reviewer has said, this is an insightful book and Kerry Brown seems to be a gifted analyst. It would appear, however, that his/her* gifts do not include crafting competent sentences. I don't have the heart to include more than a couple of examples;

'This book has looked at the networks that we find around the new leadership in China who came into power at the Eighteenth Party Congress in 2012. It has been an attempt to map and understand a little more the dynamism of these networks, and both the political as well as the personal meaning that they carry.'

That is the first paragraph of the conclusion. We already know about the Congress, the new leadership, and his theory regarding networks. He could have stopped the first sentence at the word China and lost absolutely nothing. (Although it still wouldn't have scanned very well.)

Why he feels the need to remind us what year the Congress took place in I don't know. Why he chooses to ram four sentences worth of content into two sentences I don't know either. I'm not even going to start on the usage issues.

'The founding fathers of the Communist Party over nine decades before came from a tight-knit community. Many were from specific geographic locations in China.'

I would be inclined to assume they all came from specific geographic locations unless those rumours about Chen Duxiu being a Frankstein's Monster type creation made from the bodies of three men, a wombat and a three-ton sack of gravel turn out to be true.

Brown also has fondness for using commas to wander off on tangents halfway through a sentence. I'd include an example but frankly I haven't the patience.

The whole book is like this. The content is so engaging that most of the time you can block out the sound of the authorial voice but occasionally it becomes too much to bear. This is essentially a very well-researched, very badly-written P.h.D. thesis.

Read it. Savour it. Write a letter to the publisher telling them to fire their copy-editor.

*Gender unknown. I'm in China and researching a book like this is a little fiddly.
11 Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 26 October 2014
Generally a easy book to read, some interesting comments, but poor research - mistakes such as Wen graduated from Qinghua really could be avoided.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 27 April 2015
Kerry Brown sheds a bright light on a subject that is pretty much shrouded in darkness; The leadership selection process of China and how the power to rule is accrued, shared and, ultimately, to whom it's attributed. Brown covers many areas of Chinese politics and arrives at some very interesting conclusions. The present leaders of the country, known as the 'Fifth Generation', are also analysed and assessed by the author which gives further insight into China's future directions. All of this is discussed in an environment which acknowledges just how remote and detached the elite has become from the rest of the country.

First it must be noted that the subject matter is a very complex one. China's leaders are selected via a very deeply confusing process. Each leader must satisfy several criteria ranging from the patronage of previous leaders to satisfying particular ideological concerns to having an 'institutional' background in areas such as big-business, the nation's Youth League, the nation's leading universities or by being part of the privileged 'Princeling' sect. Unlike past leaders, the current leaders of China also have very little, if any, military experience, they tend not to have studied abroad and have extensive previous experience of running regional cities and provinces. This certainly gives insight into how China see's it's future progress.

Brown covers the concept of the Princeling too. He identifies that the title indeed has a broad interpretation but generally refers to the over-privileged offspring of previous national leaders. These children make up almost 50% of the elite class in China and hold many lucrative positions in business and regional politics. The vast majority line their pockets too and are virtually unaccountable. Needless to say, the Princelings are a powerful group in contemporary China and will not disappear soon either.

Indeed, the author stresses the importance of 'networks' in determining who is fit to lead. Whilst powerful figures such as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping are now creatures of the past, individual patronage and support is still essential to any budding leader. Jiang Zemin, the previous president from the 1990s, still has significant influence in determining the country's leaders. In fact, the downfall of Bo Xilai has been partially attributed to Jiang's dislike of him, among other things. The downfall of Bo himself is also covered by Brown and this is significant for several reasons. Bo's reformist agenda angered some of the older guard in China. His blatant corruption, as well as the murderous tendencies of his wife (re-Neil Heywood) attracted attention as it exposed the murky underside of China's leadership; massive corruption, murder, lack of accountability and the need for change and reform.

The author builds on his analysis by covering China's politics in a much wider scope as well. Brown documents the lack of accountability of it's elite leadership, their vast detachment from mainstream China, the monumental and poorly disguised corruption, the lack of an internal market for manufactured goods and the reliance of non-state entities for their vast economic success which could be in danger of over-heating if reform isn't considered. Brown concludes by emphasizing just where China needs to improve if it's to continue in it's growth and the dangers posed if the nation doesn't keep pace with the ever changing world.

This is a very good read and one which is essential to understanding how modern China's leadership functions.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Need customer service? Click here

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)