The author of Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink delivers “a must-read for anyone interested in the world’s most rapidly changing society” (James L. Watson, editor of Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia).
If Chairman Mao came back to life today, what would he think of Nanjing’s bookstore, the Librairie Avant-Garde, where it is easier to find primers on Michel Foucault’s philosophy than copies of the Little Red Book? What does it really mean to order a latte at Starbucks in Beijing? Is it possible that Aldous Huxley wrote a novel even more useful than Orwell’s 1984 for making sense of post-Tiananmen China—or post-9/11 America?
In these often playful, always enlightening “tales,” Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom poses these and other questions as he journeys from 19th-century China into the future, and from Shanghai to Chicago, St. Louis, and Budapest. He argues that simplistic views of China and Americanization found in most soundbite-driven media reports serve us poorly as we try to understand China’s place in the current world order—or our own.
“Rather effortlessly brilliant . . . It penetrates with a lightly knowing eye and ear into the interior mind, heart and soul of giant China and the innumerable Chinese.”—AsiaMedia
“This book provides a powerful lens for outsiders to understand a globalizing China and a unique mirror for the Chinese to reflect on their own society in a global context.”—Yunxiang Yan, author of Private Life Under Socialism
“Readers will find themselves far more observant and attentive to local distinctions when they take their first or next trip to China.”—Stanley Rosen, The China Journal No. 60