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China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power
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China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  990 ratings  ·  69 reviews
The definitive book on China's uneasy transformation into an economic and political superpower by two Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporters. An insightful and thought-provoking analysis of daily life in China, China Wakes is an exemplary work of reportage. 16 pages of photos.
Paperback, 528 pages
Published August 1st 1995 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1994)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,944)
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The authors, married Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalists, write about the emergence of capitalist China in the mid-1990s. Alternating authorship of the chapters, they analyze China in terms of its progress in the areas of civil rights and business in the face of government repression. The authors argue that the communist government is remarkably similar to those of past dynasties but that, given their entrepreneurial energy, Chinese people are living better now than ever before. At ...more
I read this book in preparation for my trip to China. It was a fascinating book! My experience in China, and the little exposure I had to its people and government, confirmed the truth of the book for me. I found the book shocking, and subsequent personal experiences shared with me have again confirmed its veracity. In the end, I am so grateful I do not live there and government policies or otherwise have significantly affected the character, compassion, and morals of the Chinese citizens themse ...more
Feb 18, 2013 Kayo rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: newbie to China issues
Recommended to Kayo by: Zach Reff
Shelves: 2013, china
From someone who knows very little about China, I think this book gave me a very good starting point. I believe Nick Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, provided a relatively balanced view about China- they are both critical and yet optimistic about China. Although this book was written almost 20 years ago, I feel that it is still relevant, and a lot of the issues discussed in the book are still evident in China today. I look forward to reading about books about China and compare it to this one ...more
This book is about a husband and wife reporters reporting in China. These two people witnessed and heard the stories of the corruption and violence that goes on in China from the higher ups and the regular people. They also learn about the history and how China came to be the country of what it is today. One of the stories the two reporters heard was a women who saw her brother die in front of her while the police didn't do anything while they could have. Also you get insight of how closely the ...more
Báječná kniha, pro mě mnouhem poutavější než leckterá severská detektivka. Oba autoři se snažili o objektivitu do té míry, do jaké jsou toho západní liberálové schopni, často potírali své vlastní předsudky a popisovali i jevy, které zcela nesedly k obrazu "zlé čínské vlády", jakkoliv byl, obzvlášť po 4.6. 1989, nasnadě. Fascinující vhled do čínské společnosti první poloviny 90. let 20. století, do země, která si prošla obdobími nad pomyšlení krušnými, která je prolezlá korupcí tak, že si to ani ...more
Feb 13, 2014 Bob rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
I've always enjoyed the writing of Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Their work as a married couple writing for The New York Times as well as their individual publications, including Sheryl WuDunn's Half the Sky have challenged many of us to think more deeply about human rights, and especially, injustices toward women.

These same sensitivities are evident in this twenty year old work chronicling their years as correspondents for The New York Times in China. The book chronicles their time (1988-
Sarah Mansour
China Wakes is an incredible book. Nick and Sheryl take you through their 5-year adventure, based in Beijing, where they take you around China from Tibet to Guangdong. Even though the book is written in 94 (afterword in 97) but it well stands the test of time. They tried to reach out to the local people, from journalists, to University professors, to peasants and interview them about their lives and views, and for that they did a great job. However they were unfortunate to get the other side of ...more
China Wakes is a book about Nicholas Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn's time as foreign correspondents in China in the late 80s and early 90s. It is critical view of what life was like for them and those they came in contact with. This is not a proChina book and Kirstof and WuDunn do state their biases about their time overseas. Although they have a lot to say about the issues China faces and the corruption, they remain hopeful that China can become a prominent successful world leader if they ...more
Brendan Hodge
Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (husband and wife writers for the NY Times) write a first hand description of the rise of modern China which is fascinating and compelling. It's a bit out of date now, and I wish they would do an updated edition or a sequel, but it does provide a lot of very helpful ways of looking at things in relation to modern China. In particular:

- Business and freedom do not necessarily go together in China, nor are capitalism and communist party rule seen as incompatible.
Kathleen Hulser
Moving stories that probe the possibilities within the crushing bureaucracy of Chinese behemoth as cowboy capitalism rages, and the old Guard clutches power. What kind of place has a billion people, central planning and growth rates exceeding what used to be called "take-off" in the old studies of industrialization? What rules pertain, and what can human rights mean in the face of the gigantic threat of instability which seems to historically shadow every political trend in the waking giant? Sti ...more
This books covers a wide array of topics, including human rights, the rise of communism, changing culture, graft, successes of the communist party, the Cultural Revolution, the burgeoning economy, foreign relations, and the list goes on. In every instance where it is necessary, the authors give appropriate historical background, often displaying their impressive knowledge of the political and cultural systems of other countries in their comparisons with those of China. They conclude their collec ...more
This was an interesting account of a husband and wife team journalist experiences in China, up through 1993 - Kristof is an American writing for New York Times, and his wife is a Chinese American, giving us some interesting insights for the differences in treatment of both obvious and hidden perceptions of foreigners. The writing style of this one was a bit heavier and took much longer to digest - this one is still one I'm processing.

Written at a time where it looked to many like China's steamr
Now extremely dated, this text demands more scrutiny than it receives, and should be understood for what it is: a flawed and ultimately culturally-biased look at a country that Westerners (and particularly liberally-minded Westerners, I say this with no rancor towards liberalism) have difficulty understanding. This is a work of editorial journalism. It is not a work of academic rigor, and students reading it would do well to keep that fact in mind.

We must acknowledge that China has demons: vicio
China Wakes is an incredibly insightful piece of life in 1980s/1990s China. Although it may be a bit outdated, even 20 years later, it seems that China still struggles with some of the same issues highlighted in the book (such as human rights, the relationship between Communism and Capitalism, and corruption). It's a great read if you are eager to delve deeper into the Chinese political system.
Like any of the heavy (as in content, not weight) books I read, it takes a bit of time to digest what I'm reading so it takes a while before I am actually done with the book.

Great coverage of topics related to social issues and development in China. I have discussed with my dad (chinese dude who immigrated out of China) about the human rights issues and corruption. He thinks it's mostly taken out of context (I don't agree with that) and that there are more good than bad in China (I sort of agre
I took a break from HATING Kristof to read this book while I was studying in China. His wife Cheryl WuDunn is co-author of this book and they alternate chapters. They were both New York Times journalists living in China before, during, and after the 1989 Tienanmen Square massacre. Its fascinating to hear their experiences with state censorship/coercion and on-the-ground accounts of what happened. I also learned a lot about the history of the 5 Year Plan, Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, ...more
Joseph Murphy
Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn skillfully walk a thin line between being critical of China's rise economically while addressing the oppression and corruption within the government. I am reading this book 20 years after publication so it is a little outdated and made it challenging to reconcile what Kristof and WuDunn say versus what is happening in China now.

Kristof/WuDunn brings up that any Chinese journalist could come to the United States and talk about the problems of crime and gun cont
May 03, 2008 Carol rated it 3 of 5 stars
This book changed my view of China. When I moved here, I met so many wonderful people and I felt it was almost idyllic. Then I read the book and saw so much of what was behind the scenes. I think President Hinckley would call these authors "pickle suckers." However, it did open my eyes to some of the issues at play in people's every day lives. It's a different world in China than in the Western World. That said, people are people and I recognize every day that the everyday people of China are wo ...more
If you are interested in Chinese history, I highly recommend this book. It is written by a husband/wife team of NY Times foreign correspondents sent to Beijing shortly before the Tienanmen Square massacre.

It includes intriguing stories of the journalists being followed, bugged, threatened. Also included are historical anecdotes to assist in putting stories into perspective.

China has an appalling track of human rights abuses. This book does a great job in putting faces to just a few of those at
Karen Hood
Best book I've ever read, describes all aspects of Chinese life, including hardships and luxuries
This is a great book, a very interesting and engaging read, about the myriad issues plaguing Chinese society. Although the book was written back in the 1990s and some things have changed so much since then (it IS China, after all), Kristof and his wife, Sheryl Wu Dunn, do hit on a lot of the most important issues and provide historical context, while trying to also tell the human side of the story. My only complaint would be that some sections seem a little sensationalist and meant to shock the ...more
I read this book while I was living in China. I lent it to a friend who never returned it. Decided to reread it as I enjoyed it so much the first time that I read it. It gives an American view on where China was during the 1980s & early '90s in terms of politics & culture. Well worth the read if you're interested in China &/or are planning a visit. BTW, it's written by NYT a op-ed columnist, Nick Kristof, who has received 2 Pulitzers along with his wife Sheryl WuDunn. Very well writt ...more
Published in 1994, Kristoff and Wudunn give a wonderfully fascinating account about life in China during the early 90's and late 80's, just after the Tiananmen Square Movement. While the information is a bit out of date regarding China now, I still found the writing to be constructive and educational, while taking in the different points of view involved, rather than just Western or just Chinese.
All in all, a very decent read for anyone who's interested in Chinese or Asian studies.
I wasn't sure what to expect from Kristof in this journalistic look at China, and was pleasantly surprised to see him as decent journalist instead of op-ed writer. The book - chapters alternatively written by Kristof and his wife Sheryl Wudunn, a notable journalist in her own right) is outdated (1995), but still an interesting and, in some cases, prescient look at China on the rise. I particularly appreciated Kristof's account of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
This was okay but slightly outdated (already! can you believe it?). I found the alternating author/chapter thing kind of distracting. I didn't like this one quite as much as Red China Blues, b/c that one was a little more personnal and slightly less political (who on earth can really wrap their minds around Chinese politics anyway?). Hubbie wants to read it next, so we'll see what he thinks.
The authors admit they are biased in their views of China. However, I found this to be an informative view of China from the perspective of foreign correspondents before, during and after a pivotal political moment. As a Western reader it was helpful for the authors to be Western. They ask, and are able to provide some insight, to the questions that I have about a very different culture.
I read this book in a college course on politics in Asia and although it is now dated, its excellent writing by Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn who both lived in Beijing working for the NYT (Kristof was the Beijing Bureau Chief) during the Tiananmen scare in 1989. It gives a good glimpse into China and everything that mystifies its political, social, and economic elements
A strong, well-written journalistic piece of China-watching from the late 1980s and early 1990s. It appears that China has continued on the trend of "gradual evolution," with a rising middle-class, increased competition in business and a more liberal society. I enjoyed the book, it is very readable and quite critical of China but interesting as a period piece. A good read.
I had the opportunity to meet Nicholas Kristof at an event and I think that interaction influenced my rating, in a positive way. I also give him two huge thumbs up for all of his writing about Sudan, especially when no one else was thinking about the genocide that is happening, he was crossing the border to see it all and document the atrocities for the world to see.
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good book 0 6 May 17, 2007 10:41AM  
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Nicholas Donabet Kristof is an American journalist, author, op-ed columnist, and a winner of two Pulitzer Prizes. He has written an op-ed column for The New York Times since November 2001 and is widely known for bringing to light human rights abuses in Asia and Africa, such as human trafficking and the Darfur conflict. He has lived on four continents, reported on six, and traveled to 150 countries ...more
More about Nicholas D. Kristof...

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