BOOKCASE: The Britannica Guide to Modern China

• Introduction by Jonathan Mirsky

• Constable and Robinson

• RRP $32.99

The trick to getting the best of this somewhat daunting volume is not to attempt to read it cover to cover. There’s simply too much information (if such thing can sensibly be said about guide book) to digest in that manner. Abandoning that approach and, instead, dipping in and out of the Guide will prove much more engaging and manageable.
The book describes how China’s peasant economy has been transformed into world super-power and the world’s fast-growing economy, and goes back to the origins of China’s culture 4000 years ago – covering dynasties, leaders, religious and language histories. It explains the differences between the Long March, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution and the Four Modernisations (of agriculture, industry, science and technology, and defence). It looks at the key personalities in China’s history – Sun Yat Sen, Mao, Deng Xiaopeng and Jiang Zemin – and explores the diversity of culture in the contemporary nation, from calligraphy to cuisine, religion, the arts and sport.
More wide-ranging than most business readers would require for an introduction to new business partner, the Guide is, however, an important reference which would be useful addition to office bookshelves.

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