Lyle J. Goldstein is an associate professor in the Strategic Research Department at the US Naval War College (NWC). He was also the founding director of the NWC's China Maritime Studies Institute. He is the coeditor of numerous volumes including China, the United States, and 21st Century Sea Power, the author of Preventive Attack and Weapons of Mass Destruction, and a regular contributor to The National Interest.
From abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy-or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don't see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes.
As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party's struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals-fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture-consider themselves "angry youth," dedicated to resisting the West's influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth?
Writing with great narrative verve and a keen sense of irony, Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail.
Drawing on Chinese and international sources, on extensive collaboration with Chinese scholars, and on the political science of state analysis, the author concludes that under the new leadership of Xi Jinping, the system of government has been transformed into a new regime radically harder and more ideological than the legacy of Deng Xiaoping. China is less strong economically and more dictatorial politically than the world has wanted to believe.
By analysing the leadership of Xi Jinping, the meaning of ‘socialist market economy’, corruption, the party-state apparatus, the reach of the party, the mechanisms of repression, taxation and public services, and state-society relations, the book broadens the field of China studies, as well as the fields of political economy, comparative politics, development, and welfare state studies.
‘A new interpretation of the Chinese party-state—shows the advantage that derives from a comparative theorist looking at the Chinese system.’
—Tony Saich, Harvard University
‘This is an excellent book which asks important questions about China’s future. In a lively and persuasive manner, the author vividly analyses key data in a comparative and theoretical manner. Far and away the best introduction to how the CCP dictatorship works.’
—Edward Friedman, University of Wisconsin-Madison
‘There is no lack of scholars and pundits abroad who tell us that dictatorship in China is for the greater good. In a timely and engagingly written book, Stein Ringen systematically demolishes all the components of this claim.’
—Frank Dikötter, University of Hong Kong
‘Stein Ringen shows how the Chinese state has used both fear and material inducements to build a “controlocracy” of a size and complexity unprecedented in world history. Perfect as a dictatorship, but brutal, destructive, and wasteful. The author’s encyclopedic understanding of his topic is based on a mastery of relevant scholarship and is delivered in clear, no-nonsense prose that bows to no one. Ideal as a textbook.’
—Perry Link, University of California, Riverside
‘China is a complex country, and there is a range of reasonable interpretations of its political system. Professor Ringen’s interpretation is different than my own, but China watchers need to engage with his thought-provoking and carefully argued assessment. If current trends of repression intensify, less pessimistic analysts will need to recognise that Ringen’s analysis may have been prescient.’
—Daniel A. Bell, Tsinghua University
‘Inspirational and trenchant. Stein Ringen’s book is a must-read to understand China’s politics, economy, ideology and social control, and its adaptability and challenges under the CCP’s rule, especially in the 21st century.’
—Teng Biao, Harvard Law School and New York University
‘Stein Ringen’s insights as a prominent political scientist enable a powerful examination of the Chinese state in a penetrating analysis that reaches strong conclusions which some will see as controversial. The book is scholarly, objective, and free from ideological partiality or insider bias. Whether one ultimately wishes to challenge or embrace his findings, the book should be read.’
—Lina Song, University of Nottingham
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Koofi's New York Times bestseller, The Favored Daughter, movingly captures the political and cultural moment in Afghanistan, a country caught between the hope of progress and the bitter truth of history.
The book describes the ways in which a shared Confucian tradition and particular historical experiences of imperialism and war have affected each country's internal dynamics, responses to the outside world, and distinctive political developmental trajectory, especially since World War II.
While the book is structured to facilitate comparisons, it avoids the limitations of most comparative politics texts by focusing less on Western conceptions of state and governance and more on East Asian perspectives of the universe and how it operates. Even the considerations of contemporary policy issues in each country are cast in a wider framework that gives the discussion enduring value.