Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tiger Head, Snake Tails: China today, how it got there and why it has to change” as Want to Read:
Tiger Head, Snake Tails: China today, how it got there and why it has to change
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Tiger Head, Snake Tails: China today, how it got there and why it has to change

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  133 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
With the world's second-largest (and fastest expanding) economy, a population of more than 1.3 billion, a place at the core of the G20, a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and an ability to dispense cash without conditions to countries in return for the raw materials it gobbles up, China is an increasingly significant global force moving forward with shocking veloc ...more
ebook, 450 pages
Published March 29th 2012 by Simon & Schuster UK (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Tiger Head, Snake Tails, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Tiger Head, Snake Tails

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 428)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 27, 2012 Jacob rated it really liked it
Tiger Head, Snake Tail is a good book for anyone interested in modern China. Unlike many books that claim to prophesise the imminent rise or fall of China, this book focuses on putting the vast array of potential outcomes in context and offers a good overview of the opportunities and challenges facing the worlds most populous nation. At times it can read a little it like a catalogue of data with long streams of facts and figures but is nonetheless a very interesting read. Anyone who seriously wa ...more
Adithya Vs
Feb 01, 2015 Adithya Vs rated it really liked it
This book is a complete and extremely detailed description of the rise of China over the last century. The author delves into great detail while describing aspects of China - be it politics, economics, culture of thinking. The amount of research done to get this book written becomes obvious as this book has a wealth of information about the changes that have been happening in China of late. As the author himself says, this is no book for a scholar. It's written for people who are extremely inter ...more
Aug 01, 2014 Thomas rated it it was amazing
Is it worth reading?


A little difficult a first, feeling like one sentence links yet another easily found statistic via google, it isn't until you hit about Chapter 4 that Fenby's main ideas start to hit home. Easily manages the history of the region amidst quintessential and informative anecdotes, backed by loads of economic information. Especially noteworthy for his academic courage: when most in academia tend to get the PRC horribly wrong or clad in their Sinophile goggles, endlessly pra
Shahine Ardeshir
Nov 02, 2014 Shahine Ardeshir rated it liked it
Shelves: did-not-finish
On the positive side, this is honestly a fascinating book. If you're looking to brush up on all aspects China - economic, historical, political, religious, social - this book is a one-stop guide to everything you need. It's full of incredible stories, covers places and aspects of China that (I) didn't know existed, and literally has a 'wow' fact on every single page.

The trouble is, this can sometimes be too much of a good thing. After a couple of chapters, I realised that while every page was in
Nov 10, 2014 N.P. rated it really liked it
Jonathan Fenby’s book is a comprehensive overview of the China of today and the history that has got it there. And make no mistake this is a big subject, huge, colossal.

The task he has taken on, however, does run the risk of drowning the reader in statistics and anecdotes explaining China’s progression to world power status.

The book opens with a chronicling of the recent explosive growth that China has experienced and the way that it has been seen by the outside world. It sets the reader up for
Aug 29, 2012 Converse rated it liked it

Tiger Head, Snake Tails is an overview of the nation by a former journalist. I thought the book was well-written, but sometimes the vastness of the subject became overwhelming. Fenby covers such topics as the current political leaders, the political culture that current leadership inherited from the imperial dynasties, the relationship between the population and the political leaders, China's foriegn policy, the uneasy relationships between the larger ethnic minorities, caused to the natural en

Peter Gregoire
Jun 15, 2013 Peter Gregoire rated it it was amazing

In this ambitious work, Jonathan Fenby proves himself once again, a writer unafraid to take on massive subjects. From a point in time when China stood on the verge of its generational change of leadership in 2012, Fenby takes an in depth snapshot of where China is, how it got there and where it is going. In so doing, he gives us a superb analysis which dives deeply into the complexities of China's political, economic, social, regional and demographic strands.

What emerges from Fenby's book is tha
Jan 24, 2013 Adrian rated it it was amazing
We already had one masterwork from Jonathan Fenby in his Penguin History of Modern China. With such a hard work to follow, questions were abound, at least with this reader, as to whether this volume could live up to the standard of a previous masterwork. Jonathan Fenby certainly has lived up to his reputation.
Tiger Head Snake Tails is a metaphorical title referring to the all powerful head of China, it's fast paced economic growth and potential for world dominance, the Tiger's head, contrasting
Jul 21, 2013 George rated it really liked it
First, the good news: Tiger Head, Snake Tails works as a solid introduction on modern China. Fenby has no doubt covered every statistic and recent event worth highlighting.

Now, for the not-so-good. This book is so crammed full of statistics and recent events, in parts it reads more like an endless list of information than part of a wider narrative.

Ultimately though, this book works well: There is enough historical and cultural context to give lay people (such as myself) a decent understanding o
Dec 13, 2014 Jill rated it liked it
A fascinating overview of China today with a brief nod to the past and how it has influenced China, sometimes overwhelmed by the detail and sheer scope of the topic.
Mar 08, 2015 Vanessa rated it really liked it
Shelves: china
Very informative and well-written. Published in 2012, the book ends just before the new leader Xi Jinping takes over as leader of China.
Derek Henderson
Apr 03, 2015 Derek Henderson rated it did not like it
Fact, facts, facts and more facts. I ended up skipping large chunks - I couldn't see the wood for the trees.
Fred Daniel
Oct 28, 2014 Fred Daniel rated it it was ok
If you enjoy reading statistics you will love this book.
Ali Miremadi
Jun 16, 2014 Ali Miremadi rated it liked it
More fun (and probably more memorable) than homework.
Steve Gillway
Nov 24, 2012 Steve Gillway rated it really liked it
A really interesting book. The author has fantastic snippets of info about a plethora of subjects and, in a journalistc way he just can't resist adding them in. It makes for an enjoyable read, but at the end You could end up like me remembering the trivial, China wanted to ban Kungfu Panda, and being hazy about the general thrust of such an enormous place. I have the feeling about China, that as soon as I think I understand something about it, it will have changed markedly. This is because of th ...more
Peter Mcloughlin
A fairly good book that covers a laundry list of items about Modern China. It talks about its strengths as well as its stresses and strains. I am not a sinophile, the only reason I read about China at all is because it is an important country on the world stage. It is important to come to terms with this power yet China as a place of interest doesn't do it for me. That is probably why I generally can't say I enjoy reading books about China as necessary to read as they are.
Dave Hutcheson
Mar 31, 2015 Dave Hutcheson rated it it was amazing
Good introduction, and explanation of the current state of China. Sheds light on the tensions between China, itself, the party, the people, other nations and the world that arise from China's growth as a nation and emergence as a major world power. You will better understand China's history, its present and the environment the Chinese people live within.
Apr 06, 2013 Ardra rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, gave-up
This book seems to be a stream of consciousness stroll through modern China. Sometimes it seems to be random facts strung together. That said, it is interesting and you will get in-depth observations of rural and city life, rail construction, the widening gap of China's wealthy business people vs. poor immigrant factory workers.
Dec 10, 2013 David rated it really liked it
Either China is a blueprint for the future of capitalism, or its on the verge of economic, social, and environmental implosion. This book leans towards the latter view, and that it must change to survive. It's a well-researched book and easy to read, although rather disconcerting!
Maddie Knight
Apr 14, 2014 Maddie Knight rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very factual but hard to put down...
Nov 24, 2012 Vernon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit repeative on his theories but I gained a better knowledge on the rising economic power.
Apr 09, 2013 PWRL marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-new
Luis Frauca remacha
Luis Frauca remacha marked it as to-read
Jun 24, 2016
Cedric Le Neindre
Cedric Le Neindre marked it as to-read
Jun 23, 2016
Francesca Ridout
Francesca Ridout marked it as to-read
Jun 11, 2016
Cindy marked it as to-read
Jun 07, 2016
Ben Allen
Ben Allen marked it as to-read
Jun 03, 2016
Katalin marked it as to-read
Jun 01, 2016
Cheryl marked it as to-read
May 24, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 14 15 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Restless Empire: China and the World Since 1750
  • The New Industrial Revolution: Consumers, Globalization and the End of Mass Production
  • Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China's Extraordinary Rise
  • What Does China Think?
  • China's Silent Army: The Pioneers, Traders, Fixers and Workers Who Are Remaking the World in Beijing's Image
  • China Airborne
  • Will the Boat Sink the Water?: The Life of China's Peasants
  • China Goes Global: The Partial Power
  • The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China's Future
  • The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers
  • Wealth and Power: China's Long March to the Twenty-first Century
  • The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945-1957
  • The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947
  • Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962
  • China's Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa
  • Heaven Cracks, Earth Shakes: The Tangshan Earthquake and the Death of Mao's China
  • A Bitter Revolution: China's Struggle with the Modern World
  • Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia
Jonathan Fenby, CBE, has been the editor of The Observer and the South China Morning Post. He is currently China Director at the research service Trusted Sources.
More about Jonathan Fenby...

Share This Book