The World's Political Hot Spots series explains the basis of conflicts in some of the world's most politically sensitive areas. Many of these regions are in today's headlines, and tensions recently have become violent in virtually all of them. Each presentation covers up to 10 centuries of background, revealing how and why today's problems occur.
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This is an excellent summary of the long history of China. More than a recitation of facts, this work puts the many changes of China's political history in context. Covers the earliest periods up til the economic explosion of the 1990s. If you're curious about the cuntry or planning a visit, this is a must listen.
China has long been a mystery of culture little understood to most westerners. The histery unvieled in this narrative has opened my eyes to a new understanding of the "silent tiger". My desire to visit and enjoy this culture has been greatly inhanced.
Richard Hottelet did a great job. However, the Chinese accent used by the reader of the translated quotes was annoying (it sounded fake. If this is a natural accent, then my apologies). Of course, these quotes should be translated for an English-speaking audience, but why must the speaker have a Chinese accent?? Since there is not much in the way of back and forth conversational narrative, there is no need to differentiate between speakers by accent; and no need to listen to an actor mispronounce English words because he is playing a historic character who likely never spoke English.
Yes. This book could have been much longer.
Overall, a brief & good introduction.
"Three hours well spent"
Even attempting to sum up the world’s most long-lived and arguably greatest ever nation in three hours is audacious, but Murray Sayle makes a very good fist of it. What I particularly liked was his argument that, despite the breathtaking changes it’s been through, China has retained a coherent philosophical tradition that explains not only its longevity but also its opaqueness to westerners. You can find plenty of books to fill in more of the historical details, if you want to, but this one will give you the kind of insightful overview that should put all you hear about China henceforth into a more comprehensible framework. Certainly I found it more enlightening than Rana Mitter’s ‘Modern China’, which for me scored better only in its evocation of modern Chinese popular culture.
Richard C Hottelet is an interesting choice of narrator: not your laid-back orientalist or prissy academic analyst, but an urgent Walter Winchell-style commentator who makes four thousand eventful years pass with quite some pace. The idea of using different actors to read the many quotes in appropriate accents also works well for my money, though the English personages do all sound like members of the royal family, and the Scots like Dr Finlay.
Even if, like me, you’re left a little frustrated that this 2006 narrative concludes too soon to cover the big social and ecological issues latterly thrown up by China’s economic miracle, you should find this a tidy insight into the nation that, to outsiders, is still an enigma wrapped inside a fortune cookie.
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