Class Warfare; Inside the Fight to Fix America’s Schools

Class Warfare; Inside the Fight to Fix America’s Schools Steven Brill, Simon & Schuster, 2011   Reviewed by Graham Mulligan   This book is a blatant union bashing political rant masquerading as an insider look at America’s education struggles. I found it very awkwardly written with its eighty-plus ‘chapters’, which were sometimes a page and a half long. There is very little effort made by the author to present the

Two Innocents in Red China

Two Innocents in Red China Pierre Trudeau and Jacques Hebert; Douglas and McIntyre, 2007 (first published in 1961)   Canada recognized China 2 years before Nixon’s trip to China in 1972. For years China had been issuing invitations to Westerners to come and see China. Most Western nations still regarded Formosa/Taiwan and the Kuomintang Nationalists as the legitimate government of China. This trip in 1960, was not Trudeau’s first time


Endgame; The End of the Debt Supercycle and How it Changes Everything John Mauldin and Jonathan Tepper   Reviewed by Graham Mulligan   In the introductory essay the authors sum up the problem, quoting Wimpie from the Popeye cartoon, “I will gladly repay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” and Jean Mannet, “People only accept change in necessity and see necessity only in crisis”. The debt supercycle started more than

Dreaming in Chinese

Dreaming in Chinese, Mandarin lessons in life, love and language. Deborah Fallows, 2010 Reviewed by Graham Mulligan Deborah Fallows is a linguist married to a journalist, James Fallows. They have lived in Shanghai and Beijing and struggled to learn some Mandarin. This is her collection of fourteen useful, commonly-heard words or phrases and some cultural tales that they inspired her to relate.

Dead Aid

Dead Aid; Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is A Better Way For Africa, Dambisa Moyo, 2009 Africa is going through an economic revival based on the surge in commodity prices and a more open attitude to market-based growth accompanied by more predictable (stable) political environments. Yet, Africa still seems dysfunctional, not quite getting its foot on the economic ladder. Moyo sees aid as the reason, not the

Country Driving

Country Driving, A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory, Peter Hessler, Harper Collins, 2010   Reviewed by Graham Mulligan   This is a book inspired by solitude and yearning. After leaving the Peace Corps (Rivertown) and moving to Beijing as a journalist (New Yorker and National Geographic) the author gets his Chinese driver’s license and starts a road-trip. The route is defined by its proximity to an icon of

Climate Wars

Climate Wars Gwynne Dyer, Random House, 2008   Reviewed by Graham Mulligan   Gwynne Dyer’s projections of geopolitical scenarios set in the near future under the effects of disastrous climate change are scary reading. Increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere plus an average increase in global warming above 2 degrees Celsius will combine with numerous negative consequences for human society.

China’s Megatrends

China’s Megatrends, The 8 Pillars of a New Society John and Doris Naisbitt Harper Collins, 2010   Opinions about this book fall into two very separate categories, those who see in it an explanation of how China has achieved such great change in a short time, and those who see it as merely propaganda for the government.

China in the 21st Century

China in the 21st Century, What Everyone Needs to Know Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, Oxford Univ. Press, 2010   Reviewed by Graham Mulligan     Part 1            Historical Legacies   Schools of Thought Imperial China Revolutions and Revolutionaries   Part 2 The Present and the Future   From Mao to Now U.S.-China Misunderstandings The Future   This is a short  book, 135 pages, with brief sections titled ‘Who was Confucious?’, ‘Why

China 2.0

China 2.0   Reviewed by Graham Mulligan   Marina Yue Zhang with Bruce Stemming, Wiley, 2010   The opening chapter builds on the metaphor of ‘Internet 2.0’ as a way of understanding the new China. Just as Internet 1.0 was ‘read only’ and shifted to ‘interactive and participatory’ as Internet 2.0, so China has gone from one phase to something much more interactive. The authors develop the argument that Western