Fei-Ling Wang is Professor of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His books include Organizing through Division and Exclusion: China’s Hukou System and China Rising: Power and Motivation in Chinese Foreign Policy (coedited with Yong Deng).
As with other classics, many of its themes are timeless and quotations from the work can be meaningful apart from the thousands of years which separate us from the time and place of its creation.
The present work is a new edition based on the original translation of James Legge. The 19th century English prose of Legge is awkward to our modern ears, and slows down our reading and appreciation of this classic.
The Art of War is not a long book, but historically it has always been sold along with hundreds of pages of introduction, commentary, and analysis. More often than not that commentary itself is hard to understand, as much of it is hundreds or thousands of years old, and translated into the same awkward English prose.
This modern edition is meant to communicate the authentic essence and meaning of this work in modern, accessible English prose, focusing only on what can be clearly conveyed and understood, and jettisoning the rest.
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.