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On China | [Henry Kissinger]

On China

The eminent historian and strategist reflects on how China's past illuminates its 21st-century trajectory, drawing on 40 years of intimate acquaintance with the country and its leaders.
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Publisher's Summary

The eminent historian and strategist reflects on how China's past illuminates its 21st-century trajectory, drawing on 40 years of intimate acquaintance with the country and its leaders.

In On China, Henry Kissinger turns for the first time at book length to the country he has known intimately for decades and whose modern relations with the West he helped shape. Drawing on historical records as well as on his conversations with Chinese leaders over the past 40 years, Kissinger examines how China has approached diplomacy, strategy, and negotiation throughout its history and reflects on the consequences for the 21st-century world.

As Kissinger underscores, the unique conditions under which China developed continue to shape its policies and attitudes toward the outside world. For centuries, China rarely encountered other societies of comparable size and sophistication. China was the "Middle Kingdom", treating the peoples on its periphery as vassal states. At the same time, Chinese statesmen - facing threats of invasion from without and the contests of competing factions within - developed a canon of strategic thought that prized the virtues of subtlety, patience, and indirection over feats of martial prowess.

On China examines key episodes in Chinese foreign policy, from the earliest days through the 20th century, with a particular emphasis on the modern era. Kissinger illuminates the inner workings of Chinese diplomacy during such events as the initial encounters between China and modern European powers, the formation and breakdown of the Sino-Soviet alliance, the Korean War, the opening of relations with the United States, the Tiananmen Square crackdown, and China's accession to the World Trade Organization.

With a final chapter on China's 21st-century world role, On China provides a sweeping historical perspective on Chinese foreign policy from one of the premier statesmen of the 20th century.

©2011 Henry Kissinger (P)2011 Penguin

What the Critics Say

"From the eminent elder statesman, an astute appraisal on Chinese diplomacy from ancient times to the fraught present 'strategic trust' with the United States. Former Secretary of State Kissinger brings his considerable scholarly knowledge and professional expertise to this chronicle of the complicated evolution and precarious future of Chinese diplomacy with the West.... Sage words and critical perspective lent by a significant participant in historical events." (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (261 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Nor Cal Reader Northern California 07-05-11
    Nor Cal Reader Northern California 07-05-11 Member Since 2004

    LED

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    "Uriah Heep on China"

    This is a tedious, tiresome, tendentious and fact-bending "history" of China by the undisputed Uriah Heep of American diplomacy. Despite a virtual battalion of research assistants, Uriah comes up with some very strange geographical concepts and errors (example: Annam never was 'the northernmost part of Vietnam' and American soldiers in South Vietnam were not "massing along the Chinese border." But such willful and inept distortions serve the theme of this book. The author wants merely to praise the five great men of the twentieth century: Henry Kissinger, Mao Zedong, Henry Kissinger, Zhou Enlai and Henry Kissinger. There is not a single word -- not one - of criticism in this overlong thesis for Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai or any of their lackeys. Kissinger's slavishness toward the Chinese regime has been for decades an embarrassment to critics of the regime. He is the only diplomat from a major power who came to China on his knees. He was never capable of appreciating the contempt that Zhou and Mao had for him. No doubt this book will very quickly be translated into Chinese and become a best seller in China -- subsidized by the Chinese government if they are as wise as the author insists they are. On China is dedicated by the author to fashion designer Oscar de la Renta in whose home, he tells us, he began writing the book.

    14 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JimsPenName Eagan, MN, United States 01-07-13
    JimsPenName Eagan, MN, United States 01-07-13 Member Since 2011

    JimBobBillyJoeJackJasonTom

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    "I just want to give a star rating. If you force me"
    Would you consider the audio edition of On China to be better than the print version?

    I just want to give a star rating. If you force me to say more, I will give you this tripe.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I just want to give a star rating. If you force me to say more, I will give you this tripe.


    What does Nicholas Hormann bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I just want to give a star rating. If you force me to say more, I will give you this tripe.


    If you could give On China a new subtitle, what would it be?

    I just want to give a star rating. If you force me to say more, I will give you this tripe.


    Any additional comments?

    I just want to give a star rating. If you force me to say more, I will give you this tripe.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eva FLUSHING, NY, United States 08-27-12
    Eva FLUSHING, NY, United States 08-27-12
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    "Great content and Great Narrator"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you want to understand China, you must hear or read this book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    A lot of factual information.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    Overall history of China. Worth to know.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura DALLAS, TEXAS, United States 08-06-12
    Laura DALLAS, TEXAS, United States 08-06-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Excellent. Informative. Interesting."
    Where does On China rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    So much of the US economy is tied into the Chinese economy.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Thoroughness. Plus, I think Henry Kissinger is/was a fabulous statesman.


    What about Nicholas Hormann’s performance did you like?

    Yes.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Brunswick, TN, United States 10-29-11
    Robert Brunswick, TN, United States 10-29-11

    I wish Audible would provide a better product. I continually have to go back and try to find my place to listen. Audible apparently disables the ability to burn a book to even one disk so I can listen to it. The iPod just doesn't do well on audiobooks (probably unless you buy them from Apple). It is impossible to get a book burned to CD so I can listen to it and it never plays right on the iPod.

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    "China: A Great Book-Read It!"

    I am relistening to "China". It provides a lot of insight into how China got to where it is today. I realize some people will disagree with this book, but I feel it provides a basis for futher reading and study.

    A great book, read/listen to it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Plainfield, NEW JERSEY, United States 12-22-11
    John Plainfield, NEW JERSEY, United States 12-22-11
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    "if he lives today, nobody cares"
    Would you listen to On China again? Why?

    yes, because I am a Chinese, i don't have much more choices


    What other book might you compare On China to and why?

    I can not list anyone till now


    Which character – as performed by Nicholas Hormann – was your favorite?

    himself, i think


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    cry


    Any additional comments?

    not yet

    0 of 8 people found this review helpful
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