When China Rules the World

When China Rules the World; The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World Martin Jacques; Penguin Books, 2009 Summary by Graham Mulligan Martin Jacques writes from a scholarly perspective, and has a solid background that gives substance to his voice. His website description says ‘He is a visiting senior fellow at the London School of Economics, IDEAS, a centre for the study of international affairs,

The Last Lingua Franca

The Last Lingua Franca; English Until the Return of Babel Nicholas Ostler; Walker; 2010 Summary by Graham Mulligan Lingua Franca was the common contact language of the eastern Mediterranean in which Greeks and Turks could talk to Frenchmen and Italians. In 1204 Constantinople fell to the Franks who were from Venice. Many now regard English as a lingua franca spread by Anglo-American colonialism and economic interests. Indeed it is the

The End of Growth

The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality Richard Heinberg, New Society Publishers, 2011 Reviewed by Graham Mulligan This is a ‘living book’ updated at EndOfGrowth.com Heinberg is a Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute and leading educator on Peak  Oil. The book presents the reader with an economic argument, beginning with a brief review of how economies have evolved through history. The significant point here is

Post Cards From Tomorrow Square

Post Cards From Tomorrow Square; Reports From China. James Fallows, 2009 Reviewed by Graham Mulligan Fallows is the Atlantic Monthly correspondent for China. In his introduction to the book he categorizes some of the collection of essays as ‘policy’ oriented explorations of the tremendous variety of cultural developments that so frequently lead Western observers to take positions about ‘China’ as though it were one, indivisible reality. His portraits of individuals

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.

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 China, the

China’s Megatrends

China’s Megatrends, The 8 Pillars of a New Society John and Doris Naisbitt Harper Collins, 2010 Reviewed by Graham Mulligan 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. Here is are the Chapter titles: Emancipating the Mind Balancing

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 did the Qing dynasty fall?’ and ‘Is

China 2.0

China 2.0 Marina Yue Zhang with Bruce Stemming, Wiley, 2010 Reviewed by Graham Mulligan 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 media misrepresents China

2000 Days in China

2000 Days in China; 1998 – 2009 A Western Experience John Hemingsen; published by virtualbookworm.com Reviewed by Graham Mulligan This book is a personal account of the author’s business dealings over a ten year period. The author was a senior executive with an American steel fabricating company that decided to take up a Chinese invitation to engage in making product in China at an early stage of the Reform and