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The Fall and Rise of China | [The Great Courses]

The Fall and Rise of China

For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. These 36 eye-opening lectures deliver a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.
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Publisher's Summary

How can we account for China’s momentous - and almost wholly unanticipated - global rise? And what does it mean, for us in the West and for humanity’s future?

Speaking to these vital and fascinating questions, these 48 penetrating lectures by Professor Baum bring to vivid life the human struggles, the titanic political upheavals, and the spectacular speed of China’s modern rebirth. Offering multilevel insight into one of the most astounding real-life dramas of modern history, the lectures weave together the richly diverse developments and sociopolitical currents that created the China you now read about in the headlines.

You’ll get a detailed understanding of all the core events in China’s century of stunning change, including the collapse of the Qing dynasty, the Republican era and civil wars, the "Great Leap Forward", the Cultural Revolution, and the post-Mao economic "miracle". Throughout, Professor Baum reveals highly unusual details that enrich the cinematic sweep of the story. For example, you’ll learn about the Christian warlord who baptized his troops with a fire hose, the strange kidnapping of Chiang K’ai-shek, and Professor Baum’s own smuggling of top-secret documents out of Taiwan.

A core strength of these lectures is that they make sense of the dramatic events of the story by getting deeply at what underlay them, culturally, socially, and historically - leaving you with a nuanced knowledge of the forces moving China’s modern emergence. Bringing alive the passionate reinvention of China with deep discernment and humanity, they portray the confounding, majestic, heart-rending, and visionary story of a modern giant.

Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.

©2010 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2010 The Great Courses

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    andreak 07-30-14
    andreak 07-30-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing insight into the next great superpower"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Fall and Rise of China to be better than the print version?

    Definitely


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the passion the narrator expressed especially as he experienced some of the story himself.


    Which character – as performed by Professor Richard Baum – was your favorite?

    The characters he highlighted around the turn of the 20 century were expressed vividly.


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

    For some of the story I was surprised by what I heard


    Any additional comments?

    A must listen for anyone who lived through any of the Mao Zedong era in China.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Big Busta Boston, MA USA 07-22-14
    Big Busta Boston, MA USA 07-22-14
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    "Unexpectedly Gripping!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Fall and Rise of China to be better than the print version?

    Don't know.


    What other book might you compare The Fall and Rise of China to and why?

    Don't know


    What does Professor Richard Baum bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    First hand experience. My jaw dropped when he talked about how much of the information in the lectures came from his daring (and quite stupid) move as a young student to smuggle documents out of a government reading room in then-authoritarian Taiwan.


    Any additional comments?

    If you're serious about learning modern Chinese history, don't miss it. It's as gripping as any lecture series can possibly get.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Salem, OR, United States 07-15-14
    Scott Salem, OR, United States 07-15-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Informative"
    Would you listen to The Fall and Rise of China again? Why?

    Yes, especially if I had someone to discuss it with. There is a lot information covering the last few centuries of China. too much for one go. I learned a lot that I only knew about from vague rumors and vague news before.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    forkmonkey 07-10-14
    forkmonkey 07-10-14

    groony

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    "Compelling narrative"
    Where does The Fall and Rise of China rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This course has me searching excitedly for other lectures of similar quality. Baum's expertise is unquestionable, and his style is both engaging and interesting. It doesn't hurt that the subject matter really makes one think about the world and human nature.


    What other book might you compare The Fall and Rise of China to and why?

    I'm hoping to find one. So far I haven't, but I'm trying other Great Lecture series in the hopes that they'll be this good.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Richard Baum’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Nope.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Well, it's really long, but I'd definitely sit in the car to catch a few more minutes.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-04-14
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    "Deep, Accurate and Insightful"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I lived in China for several years, and have a decent sense and understanding of the political and philosophical history of China, but being such a large, diverse and long-standing country it is very hard to put into a concise/manageable form. The Fall and Rise of China was spot on, and contained several in-depth lectures on Historical China up through present-time.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The fact that the author was such a subject matter expert and fun to listen to at the same time.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Learning about the turmoil of the early 20th century that led to the CCP gaining traction due to the fact that the Nationalists were tied into a war with Japan was something I found pretty insightful, as well as the early political struggles of Mao and his changing alliances/whims/strategy and the outgrowth of his contemporaries into the creation of today's China.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but at 24 hours that was going to be a pretty difficult undertaking!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug D. Eigsti Colorado Springs, Colorado United States 06-05-14
    Doug D. Eigsti Colorado Springs, Colorado United States 06-05-14 Member Since 2011

    Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ".....The Sleeping Giant Awakes and it is Restless."

    Professor Richard Baum delivers a series of 48 lectures on China. He captures the decline of the former dynasties and the rise of the social communist revolution. I suspect that his personal politics lean toward the left in American style politics. Although in these lectures you will learn that the terms “left” and “right,” in political terms, are very dependant on the context in which they are used. In a China where the entire political spectrum is socialist, the conservative right is hard-line communist: exactly the reverse of the American system. At first I found Professor Baum to be sympathetic to everything Chinese, but later realized that this is just because of this style of delivery. He is a self-styled Sinologist, a professional China Watcher. As a Political Scientist he is enthusiastic for everything that happens in China, both good and bad. To him it is a fascinating academic study of China as a phenomenon. Don’t let his perceived enthusiasm in the early lectures concerning the rise of communism lead you to believe that he is siding with Chairman Mao. Later he will be equally enthusiastic recounting Mao’s shortcomings. After listening to Professor Baum lecture on the subject of China for over 24 hours, I now consider his approach to be professionally unbiased in a Political Science framework.

    This regional history recounts the fall of the old empire, the revolutionary rise of communism, the fall of communism, and the rise of the socialist market economy that has made China the world power it is today. The recent history China is in no way a simple study; it is less a bungee-cord fall and rise than it is the repeated dips and loops of a roller-coaster.

    Against unsustainable economic growth, necessitated by appeasement of the masses now made aware of the potentials of freedom brought on by the infusion of Western technologies and ideas, China may well implode as it tries to gain world dominance by abusing the human rights of its people. As Professor Baum concludes his lessons, it is clear that China is still in a state of flux, barely juggling precarious economic stability, tense foreign policy, and the increasing unrest of its people. Ironically, the very thing that makes China a world economic player threatens to undermine the totalitarian power and influence the Chinese Communist Party has over its subjects.

    If you want more: try another lecture series: Peter Navarro in THE COMING CHINA WARS. Navarro goes into the serious implosion problems China faces based on the economies of scale.

    Lecture Titles

    1. The Splendor That Was China 600 to 1700
    2. Malthus and Manchu Hubris 1730 to 1800
    3. Barbarians at the Gate 1800 to 1860
    4. Rural Misery and Rebellion 1840 to 1860
    5. The Self-Strengthening Movement 1860 to 1890
    6. Hundred Days of Reform and the Boxer Uprising
    7. The End of Empire 1900 to 1911
    8. The Failed Republic 1912 to 1919
    9. The Birth of Chinese Communism 1917 to 1925
    10. Jung, Mao and Civil War 1926 to 1934
    11. The Republican Experiment 1927 to 1937
    12. Resist Japan 1937 to 1945
    13. Jung’s Last Stand 1945 to 1949
    14. The Chinese People Have Stood Up
    15. Korea, Taiwan and the Cold War 1950 to 1954
    16. Socialist Transformation 1953 to 1957
    17. Cracks in the Monolith 1957 to 1958
    18. The Great Leap Forward 1958 to 1960
    19. Demise of the Great Leap Forward 1959 to 1962
    20. Never Forget Class Struggle 1962 to 1965
    21. Long Live Chairman Mao 1964 to 1965
    22. Mao’s Last Revolution Begins 1965 to 1966
    23. The Children’s Crusade 1966 to 1967
    24. The storm Subsides 1968 to 1969
    25. The Sino-Soviet War of Words 1964 to 1969
    26. Nixon, Kissinger and China 1969 to 1972
    27. Mao’s Deterioration and Death 1971 to 1976
    28. The Legacy of Mao Tse-tung, an Appraisal
    29. The Post-Mao Interregnum 1976 to 1977
    30. Hua Guofeng and the Four Modernizations
    31. Deng Takes Command 1978 to 1979
    32. The Historic Third Plenum 1978
    33. The Normalization of US-China Relations
    34. Deng Consolidates His Power 1979 to 1980
    35. Socialist Democracy and the Rule of Law
    36. Burying Mao 1981 to 1983
    37. To Get Rich is Glorious 1982 to 1986
    38. The Fault-Lines of Reform 1984 to 1987
    39. The Road to Tiananmen 1987 to 1989
    40. The Empire Strikes Back 1989
    41. After the Deluge 1989 to 1992
    42. The Roaring 90s 1992 to 1999
    43. The Rise of Chinese Nationalism 1993 to 2001
    44. China’s Lost Territories: Taiwan, Hong-Kong
    45. China in the New Millennium 2000 to 2008
    46. China’s Information Revolution
    47. One World, One Dream. The 2008 Olympics
    48. China’s Rise. The Sleeping Giant Stirs

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sofie 05-31-14
    Sofie 05-31-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Amazing - narrator that was involved in events"
    What made the experience of listening to The Fall and Rise of China the most enjoyable?

    The way the story was told was not just palatable but utterly gripping - I have listened to a few of these and this was one of the best.


    What does Professor Richard Baum bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He is really passionate about the subject and not in an annoying way. Loved how he pronounced different things in Chinese !


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

    This became my priority. Could not listen to anything else.


    Any additional comments?

    Sometimes he does focus on inter-party relations and it can be a bit difficult to follow who's who because of all the Chinese names - however this is by no means a fault of the book/narrator, I am just unfamiliar with the language and therefore sometimes it was a bit difficult

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. F. Plona Phoenix, AZ 05-12-14
    T. F. Plona Phoenix, AZ 05-12-14 Member Since 2004

    Plimtuna

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A wonderful surprise - Who would have thought?"
    What made the experience of listening to The Fall and Rise of China the most enjoyable?

    This was my first listen to a course serries on Audible. I was unsure what to expect. The author/professor's depth of knowledge and ability to provide details and nuanced meaning of the historical events were invigorating to the topic.


    What other book might you compare The Fall and Rise of China to and why?

    I am a fan of Barbara Tuchman and this narration seemed similar to me.


    Any additional comments?

    great insight into China is today and how they got there. Much ground work is covered to establish what makes the Chinese tick. Wonderful insights.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    w.n. 05-12-14
    w.n. 05-12-14
    ratings
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    8
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    "Fascinating"
    Would you listen to The Fall and Rise of China again? Why?

    Yes. It contains so much information and listening to it again would improve a coherent understanding of the recent history of China.


    What does Professor Richard Baum bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His love and enthusiasm for the subject are reflected in his voice and presentation style.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. The sheer duration makes this pretty much impossible. Daily 30 minute lectures on my commute to work are perfect.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Misha 05-06-14
    Misha 05-06-14 Member Since 2013
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    6
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    "History delivered as fantastically narrated story"
    Where does The Fall and Rise of China rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This has by far been the best audiobook lecture I've listened to so far.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author's ability to take history and turn it into a story, seasoned with his own first-hand experiences, makes it an easy, enlightening, and engaging listen.


    Any additional comments?

    The author's pace, compared to some of the other courses I've listened to, makes this course easy to follow. It's not sluggish like some others, and it doesn't bring any material in too fast.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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