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Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China | [Evan Osnos]

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China

As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s struggle to retain control.
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Publisher's Summary

A vibrant, colorful, and revelatory inner history of China during a moment of profound transformation.

From abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy - or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don’t see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes.

As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals - fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture - consider themselves "angry youth", dedicated to resisting the West's influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth?

Writing with great narrative verve and a keen sense of irony, Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail.

©2014 Evan Osnos (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Evan Osnos, Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker (2005-2010) has written an outstanding book covering the political, economic, and cultural aspects of China. Narrating his own work is a wonderful addition as his command of Mandarin and in-depth knowledge of the country are apparent. Observations and interviews are crisp and timely whether the subject is a billionaire online matchmaker or the dissident Ai Wei Wei, who has many critical and pithy comments. Osnos's apt delivery of humor--both his own and Chinese--adds authenticity and fun. Most revealing are his observations during a European tour with a Chinese group. (He was the only non-Chinese person.) Osnos excels at getting people to open up; he then adds luster with his spirited delivery of their thoughts." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Sam Weiser, ID, United States 07-10-14
    Sam Weiser, ID, United States 07-10-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Important stories from contemporary China."
    What did you love best about Age of Ambition?

    I've lived in China for the most recent period that Evan has been living here. He manages to go into depth on several stories that I'd had some familiarity with, but did not fully understand. He then weaves these into the general theme on the good and bad of China's rise.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character was the phone with special messages from the government to journalists. Every time it would buzz, rest assured hilarity would ensue.


    What about Evan Osnos’s performance did you like?

    Evan only reads the preface. Someone else narrates the book. This person sounds older (I think they have done other books I have listened too.) You can watch Evan's interviews on youtube and you will hear that it is not him. This is the first book (that I know of) where the narrator is not the person they say it is. It is weird because they say Evan is the narrator at the end in the audio conclusion. It would have been nice if he had narrated the whole book as he would have been more accurate with the Chinese pronunciation and the age of the voice would have better matched with the experiences he is describing.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    "Not available in Chinese cinemas"


    Any additional comments?

    Age of Ambition is now firmly established among the books on China that I will recommend to people that want to understand the place better. It will be included among books by the authors Peter Hessler and Jung Chang. Evan addresses macro points with personal stories that not only makes the material easier to retain, but also makes it hard to stop listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Centerport, NY, United States 05-29-14
    Matt Centerport, NY, United States 05-29-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Excellent and captivating look into modern China"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Age of Ambition to be better than the print version?

    I didn't read the print version.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ai Wei Wei is always an interesting person.


    Which character – as performed by Evan Osnos – was your favorite?

    Kind of a difficult question to answer for a non-fiction title.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Not especially. The whole thing is great.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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