Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power

Howard W. French. Knopf, $27.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-385-35332-8
Former New York Times Asia correspondent French (China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa) provides a “cultural and historical view of China’s approach to geostrategic power” in this nuanced look at a rival superpower. The detail of his scholarship and reporting is matched by the suppleness of his prose, which turns what could have been dry analysis into an accessible volume. French more than makes the case for the importance of increased awareness among Americans of China’s intentions, despite the minimal attention U.S.-Sino relations receive in the press or on the campaign stump; he persuasively claims that China’s ultimate objective is to supplant “American power and influence in [Southeast Asia] as an irreplaceable stepping-stone along the way to becoming a true global power in the twenty-first century.” The book examines the past and present of China’s interactions with its neighbors while taking a balanced view of China’s economic and demographic challenges. French believes that China’s threat to the U.S. is a manageable one, best handled by taking steps to make it a full participant in the international community. This will be a useful, and necessary, starting point for informed discussion. Agent: Gloria Loomis, Watkins Loomis Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/2016
Release date: 03/14/2017
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