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About Face: A History of America's Curious Relationship with China, from Nixon to Clinton
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About Face: A History of America's Curious Relationship with China, from Nixon to Clinton

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  83 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
"Mann's colorful and detailed narrative, studded with dozens of vivid anecdotes, reveals how ineptly [we] have managed our ties with the world's most populous nation." --The Washington Post Book World

Drawing on hundreds of previously classified documents, scores of interviews, and his own experience, James Mann, former Los Angeles Times Beijing bureau chief, presents the f
Paperback, 464 pages
Published February 15th 2000 by Vintage (first published 1998)
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Jun 29, 2009 Lara rated it really liked it
This is the first book I've read that deals primarily with the inner workings of foreign policy. It has opened my eyes up to how media is used by politicians to shape public opinion and how clandestine our nation's leaders can be. As for our relationship with China, I think this is a book all should read because this is a relationship that will only become more important as the future unfolds. Below is my completely personally biased ranking on the presidents covered regarding their foreign poli ...more
Ethan Cramer-Flood
Feb 27, 2012 Ethan Cramer-Flood rated it it was amazing
I'm a sucker for journalism style contemporary history books, especially when they cover my favorite topic. Whenever I see "former bureau chief" listed in the author's bio -- rather than, say, "professor" or "noted scholar" -- I know I'm in for a pleasant ride. A world class journalist and a world class scholar should, in theory, tell pretty much the same story. The trade off is that the journalist will miss some nuance and some historical and global context, but will make up for it with oh so m ...more
Laura Noggle
Oct 18, 2015 Laura Noggle rated it it was amazing
Riveting, detailed, true. If you have any interest in U.S.-Chinese relations, this book is a must read.
Travis Struchen
Aug 19, 2009 Travis Struchen rated it really liked it
started this informative book during my 14 hour flight from Taipei to LA. goodtimes. interesting dynamics between the chinese & US governments. Apparently it was such a big deal when the US started formal relationships with China that one of the US government officials sprinted to the front of the plane when they were crossing into china so that he could style himself as the first US official to enter into communist china in 1969.
William Shoemaker
Nov 08, 2011 William Shoemaker rated it it was ok
Poorly written in places, quite dry, and Mann makes it painfully clear that he can't speak Chinese (note to China historians in the West: learn Chinese already, or get another job!!); but there is some interesting and worthwhile history in here, most notably the parts where he discusses Deng Xiaoping's miserably failed invasion of Vietnam.
Apr 20, 2010 Luci rated it it was ok
Shelves: asia
This book is difficult to follow but is jam-packed with useful information that comes from all angles. I'd recommend reading The Great Wall: Six Presidents and China, which offers eyewitness and journalistic accounts of the history of bilateral relations between the United States and China.
Kelvin Chin
Mar 20, 2010 Kelvin Chin rated it really liked it
Interesting book. Really breaks down the dichotomy and relationship between China and America throughout the beginning to today. I feel like it really makes you think about how Chinese culture and American culture really plays into all of the relationships that have been created.
Jul 22, 2007 Ryan rated it really liked it
a bit sprawling for an academic piece, but still an excellent, thorougly reasoned explanation of this period in the history of sino-american relations.
Jun 10, 2012 Danprain rated it liked it
Shelves: history
the section dealing with post-tiananmen MFN negotiations from early to mid 90's is crucial
Dec 17, 2007 Moming added it
the second best book about China-U.S. relations, after MacMillan's Nixon and Mao.
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James Mann is the author of six books on American politics and national security issues, including Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet and The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power. A longtime correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, he is currently a fellow in residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. ...more
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