MixedThe Washington Post... a journalistic book in the traditional sense, offering readers a rapid-fire recounting of the key events from the Occupy movement to the arrests of prominent politicians and journalists in 2020 and 2021. He also takes time to delve into the history of the handover negotiations between Britain and China, as well as the Tiananmen Square crackdown of 1989, which plunged Hong Kong into crisis and prompted a wave of emigration ... Clifford is angry and unsparing in his criticisms of China’s communist leaders and Hong Kong’s local officials ... Clifford lived in Hong Kong long enough to gain status as a permanent resident with voting rights. But he still at times writes about the city as an expatriate outside observer looking in. He sprinkles his chapters with a few characters — his barber, a financial professional, an art gallery owner and his Cantonese teacher, whose goal was to compile the first dictionary of Cantonese. But these characters are rarely fully developed beyond a few pages, and most quickly disappear...He also devotes surprisingly scant attention to the protests that erupted in early June 2019 and continued into early 2020.
MixedThe Washington PostCampbell’s new book, The Pivot, is understandably defensive about both the policy and Clinton’s role in implementing it. At times, that makes this very readable policy book seem too safe and unchallenging, as if Campbell is laying out his vision for the secretary of state’s job if Clinton wins the election ... The book is best when Campbell provides personal anecdotes from his travels around Asia...Also valuable — but far too infrequent — are his insider’s accounts of the fascinating dynamic between erstwhile rivals Obama and Clinton ... This is no 'tell all' by a former high-ranking official but a studious, policy-oriented book, designed not to challenge conventional wisdom or offend.