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China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know® (3rd edition)
China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know® (3rd edition)

China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know® (3rd edition)

Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom; Maura Elizabeth Cunningham
  • A concise introduction to China's swift rise to superpower status
  • Provides a deep understanding of China-US relations
  • Fully revised to illuminate President Xi Jinping's time in office, the current state of activism in China, and much more


In this fully revised and updated third edition of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know®, Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom and Maura Elizabeth Cunningham provide cogent answers to urgent questions regarding the world's newest superpower and offer a framework for understanding China's meteoric rise from developing country to superpower. Framing their answers through the historical legacies - Confucian thought, Western and Japanese imperialism, the Mao era, and the Tiananmen Square massacre - that largely define China's present-day trajectory, Wasserstrom and Cunningham introduce readers to the Chinese Communist Party, the building boom in Shanghai, and the environmental fallout of rapid Chinese industrialization. They also explain unique aspects of Chinese culture, such as the one-child policy, and provide insight into Chinese-American relations, a subject that has become increasingly fraught during the Trump era. As Wasserstrom and Cunningham draw parallels between China and other industrialized nations during their periods of development, in particular the United States during its rapid industrialization in the 19th century, they also predict how we might expect China to act in the future vis-à-vis the United States, Russia, India, and its East Asian neighbors.
Updated to include perspectives on Hong Kong's shifting political status, as well as an expanded discussion of President Xi Jinping's time in office, China in the 21st Centuryprovides a concise and insightful introduction to this significant global power.


Part I: Historical Legacies
1. Schools of Thought
2. Imperial China
3. Revolutions and Revolutionaries
Part II: The Present and the Future
4. From Mao to Now
5. U.S. - China Misunderstandings
6. The Future

About the author: 

Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom is a Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. His previous books include Global Shanghai, China's Brave New World, and Twentieth-Century China.
Maura Elizabeth Cunningham is an Associate at the University of Michigan's Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies. She has written on modern Chinese history for the Wall Street Journal and the LA Review of Books.

Praise for the third edition:
"China in the 21st Century is comprehensive, wide-ranging, succinct, and eminently readable. For anyone who wants to understand today's China, this is a terrific place to start." -- Jiayang Fan, Staff Writer, The New Yorker

"I found this book incredibly useful when I was ambassador to China and tried to give a copy to every new colleague who arrived in Beijing. It's a great read, comprehensive and well researched. Wasserstrom and Cunningham give you all you need to know to start understanding China." -- Jorge Guajardo, former Mexican Ambassador to China
"Essential reading for scholars and general readers alike seeking to understand China's past, present and future. Indispensable." -- Peter Frankopan, Professor of Global History, Oxford University, author of The Silk Roads: A New History of the World

"It is difficult to be concise, clear, and correct all at the same time. Wasserstrom and Cunningham have managed to pull this trick off in China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know. The essentials of China's history and politics are engagingly distilled in question-answer format, providing brief but authoritative explanations of the core issues that still permeate modern Chinese society. Should be an essential carry-on item for the plane trip to China-whether in a student backpack or an executive briefcase." -- David Moser, Dean of Yenching Academy, Peking University
Praise for previous editions: 

"A useful resource for those who want a greater understanding of the how and why of China's emergence as a global power." -- Library Journal

"Readers who know a fair bit about China already will be left better informed, looking at what they already knew in another light. Readers new to the subject couldn't start in a better place." -- Urbanatomy.com
"This slim volume does the impossible: it provides the essential knowledge that intelligent readers need to have about China historically and today and it can be read in less time than it take to fly from the U.S. to China!" -- Susan Shirk, author of China: Fragile Superpower

"A sure-footed guide through the thickets of China's history and the turbo-driven landscape of its current affairs. Indispensable reading." -- Andrew Ross, author of Fast Boat to China

"A remarkable feat that melds the insights from deep scholarly immersion in history with an up-to-the-minute grasp on contemporary developments in China and beyond." -- Haiyan Lee, Stanford University
"[China in the 21st Century] has asked most of the questions that the intelligent visitor to China will ask, and has answered them lucidly, vividly, and originally. Anyone who wants to know about the coming superpower can profit from this book." -- Timothy Garton Ash, author of The File

"Jeffrey Wasserstom has found the perfect collaborator in Maura Cunningham. Together, they have produced, analyzed, and digested more of the best research on China's past and present than a reader could ever hope to match. And now they have taken on the hardest question of all: What truly matters most in understanding China? In this crystalline and up-to- date edition, they have given us the answers. I keep this book within reach at all times." -- Evan Osnos, The New Yorker

Product details

ISBN : 9780190659080

Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom; Maura Elizabeth Cunningham
240 Pages
141 x 211 mm
Pub date
Apr 2018
What Everyone Needs to Know
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China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know® (3rd edition)

China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know® (3rd edition)

China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know® (3rd edition)