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Publisher's Summary

From the former New York Times Asia correspondent and author of China's Second Continent, an incisive investigation of China's ideological development as it becomes an ever more aggressive player in regional and global diplomacy.

For many years after its reform and opening in 1978, China maintained an attitude of false modesty about its ambitions. That role, reports Howard French, has been set aside. China has asserted its place among the global heavyweights, revealing its plans for pan-Asian dominance by building its navy, increasing territorial claims to areas like the South China Sea, and diplomatically bullying smaller players. Underlying this attitude is a strain of thinking that casts China's present-day actions in decidedly historical terms, as the path to restoring the dynastic glory of the past. If we understand how that historical identity relates to current actions, in ways ideological, philosophical, and even legal, we can learn to forecast just what kind of global power China stands to become - and to interact wisely with a future peer.

Steeped in deeply researched history as well as on-the-ground reporting, this is French at his revelatory best.

©2017 Howard W. French (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Nuanced...The detail of [French's] scholarship and reporting is matched by the suppleness of his prose...This will be a useful, and necessary, starting point for informed discussion." (Publishers Weekly)
"Howard French has tackled what is perhaps the most important issue of our time, and of many years to come, with the vivid prose of a first-rate reporter, the scholarship of an excellent historian, and great human sympathy." (Ian Buruma, author of Year Zero: A History of 1945)
"Everything Under the Heavens is the most persuasive account I've ever read of how China's history shapes its foreign policy and that of its neighbors today. A subtle and beautifully written book that offers surprising lessons for how Americans and Asians should respond to China's rise. Strongly recommended for policy makers and citizens alike." (Susan Shirk, chair of the 21st Century China Center, University of California-San Diego)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Eye Opening

The author has opened my eyes to ideas and concepts I had not considered. Very enlightening. The long historical view of Chinese self image helps me see why we must be careful in our diplomacy.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

China - a clear and present danger for the future.

Where does Everything Under the Heavens rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very high in the ranking. Well researched and narrated - gives extensive Chinese and Chinese-Japanese History and provides the appropriate historical context.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Recent Chinese Leaders who made changes to made a great positive difference for their country.

Have you listened to any of Nicholas Hormann’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No basis for an evaluation

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

No extreme reaction.<br/>This is a very serious book.<br/>This is a very serious subject.<br/>People interested in U.S. Foreign Policy and its future would do well to read and understand this book and the challenges it represents.

Any additional comments?

Are the American people sleeping? Do they recognize their world position is being actively challenged? Do they care? Are they willing to stop the clown show(s) and do something about it? Are they willing to accept the consequences of inaction?

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Thoughtful and thorough analysis

This thoughtful and thorough analysis casts current events in historic context, taking the long view so often missing from contemporary american sociopolitical discussion.

Neither alarmist nor apologist, the author presents a well reasoned and supported argument for caution and consistency in responding to a resurgent and confident China's regional and geopolitical strategic goals.

For me as an Australian this work provides additional and valuable context to current affairs in south east asia and, notwithstanding Goff's reassignment of nationality, is well worth listening to.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • daryl
  • darwin, Australia
  • 03-19-17

Some Notable Errors

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Way too much historical detail

Would you ever listen to anything by Howard W. French again?

Probably not.

How could the performance have been better?

Some notable errors. For example Gough Whitlam was the Prime Minister of Australia NOT New Zealand.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Bits were satisfying.