MixedHarpers... [an] ambitious and sweeping history ... Lovell emphasizes Maoism wherever she finds it, but sometimes the label feels like it barely sticks ... in a world of worsening inequality, in which a majority of the poor live in rural areas, Lovell could have done more to acknowledge that particular aspects of Maoism’s radical message still resonate today. Lovell’s critique of Maoism as conducive to the building of violent, repressive regimes is most persuasive when applied in a more limited fashion to Chinese politics ... Perhaps the most delightful moment of this book so filled with tragedy comes when Lovell recounts an interview with one American former acolyte of Mao who had left the cause years before. He told Lovell that \'Maoist techniques\' remained highly useful to him: \'I moved into a condo a year ago. I’m already on the organizing committee. I can analyze contradictions straight away. That’s what Maoism has done for me\' ... Lovell’s history underscores just how difficult it is to export a political idea wholesale, whether that idea is Maoism or the rule of law
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal\"A heartfelt introduction to China’s recent history—and a firsthand dispatch from its millennial generation, a perspective all too rare in English-language publications. Her book is an important reminder that, even at a time of repression under Xi Jinping, China’s political and social evolution remains a process in motion, with many individuals—young and old, powerful and powerless—hoping to move their country in a different direction ... Ms. Kan’s stories reflect the power of—and resistance to—the ruling Chinese Communist Party ... Ms. Kan gives readers reason to hope that more first-person accounts from China’s millennial generation will become widely available. For those seeking to understand the future of China and U.S.-China relations, voices like hers are an essential part of the conversation.\
Stephen R. Platt
RaveThe Wall Street JournalAs Stephen R. Platt describes in his masterly Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China’s Last Golden Age, Chinese commerce with Western countries has been consistently defined by the dynamics of flattery and scorn, wonder and chastisement, fairness and greed. Mr. Platt, a historian at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is careful not to project the concerns of the present back onto the past. But the resonances are inescapable, and his book is important reading not only for those interested in China’s history but also for anyone seeking to understand the explosive intersection between trade and politics today ... Mr. Platt’s goal is to pick apart the complex and fascinating historical strands that led to the war. He tells his story through both Chinese and Western eyes, portraying a torturous history of misunderstandings and miscalculations ... Readers of Mr. Platt’s book will find themselves marveling at how similar many of the pivot points of debate remain today, despite dramatically changed circumstances.