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Why China Will Never Rule the World: Travels in the Two Chinas

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  48 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
After having lived in Taipei for ten years, Troy Parfitt sets out on an epic journey to test the theory that China is ascending toward a position of global hegemony. The result is whirlwind tour of the Chinese world, one that enlightens, astonishes, and entertains. Parfitt shows us he is the perfect China tour guide: the steward of an intimate knowledge of the nation's his ...more
ebook, 414 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Western Hemisphere Press (first published June 4th 2011)
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(showing 1-30)
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Pete Wung
This is an incredibly difficult book to review. On the one hand, it can be read as a travel book, since the author does such a thorough job of documenting his experiences in both China and Taiwan. On the other hand, it is also a stream of conscious reflection on the topic of whether China, and the Chinese are capable of becoming the superpower for the next epoch.
It is made difficult for me to review this because the subject is China, a place where my ancestors came from, and Taiwan, where I was
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jul 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer (JC-S) by:
Shelves: review-books
‘Dragons, after all, do not exist.’

China is currently the second largest economy in the world, and may outstrip the USA (GDP measured in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms) by 2020, according to some economists. In 2008, Goldman Sachs predicted that China would overtake the USA in 2027. In 2003, the prediction was 2041. Clearly, China is becoming more influential, but is it moving towards a position of global hegemony?

Not according to author Troy Parfitt. In ‘Why China Will Never Rule the World
Sep 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'East is east and west is west And the wrong one I have chose'

The selected title of this review comes from a 1948 song by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans from the film 'The Paleface' (the song goes on to be known as 'Buttons and Bows'). And the Inscrutable East was also address by Rudyard Kipling in his 1889 poem, The Ballad of East and West:

Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East
May 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Troy Parfitt's Why China Will Never Rule the World is a travelogue detailing three trips he made during his decade of teaching English in Taiwan. The first two trips are to the Chinese mainland, and the third trip is a journey through Taiwan. Throughout these trips, he travels to the Potala Palace in Tibet, the Ice Festival in Harbin and most of the major tourist destinations in between. The book is focused on what he sees and experiences as a tourist, though it is interspersed with large dollop ...more
Troy Parfitt
Apr 04, 2011 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
A lot better than my first book.
**This copy was obtained as a Free Advanced Reader's Copy.

Why China Will Never Rule the World is an interesting book. Indeed, it can fit into many genres; travel, history, commentary, etc. But I do have to say that to me, this book mainly hit in the history realm. But it's not the boring history you learn in high school, this book was written the way history should be taught. It brings in life experiences and neatly ties them together with history of the area or China as a whole.

Troy Parfitt, af
David Marshall
Although I have given this book three stars, it's because I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt. Troy Parfitt writes about Chinese culture with obvious understanding and I share some of his views about how well any Westerner can feel comfortable when surrounded by the practices supposedly based on Confucianism. That said, I feel the tenor of the book lacks balance. If you are going to discuss history and suggest how this might predispose a country to succeed or fail, I think you owe it to your ...more
Jul 31, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was obvious Mr. Parfitt is knowledgeable about China and not just someone interjecting their thoughts about what’s wrong with the country, but rather explaining the reason why things are the way they are. Or course, this came a little later in the book. First, Mr. Parfitt goes into detail about the country’s culture, history, and national psyche. On the one hand, I liked the detail as it was as though I were in China and could see, touch and smell it. On the other, there was so much detail th ...more
Arthur Meursault
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Occasionally veers into the curmudgeon but otherwise effective, evocative and never effusive. One of the few travelogues I've actually enjoyed. As well as being a spot-on analysis of modern day China (and Taiwan), the book is beautifully written with an eye for just the right amount of purple prose and flourish. At times it is also laugh-out-loud funny. My only criticism is that the titular question is not really addressed in detail within the book and feels tacked-on for marketing purposes.

Nov 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This author was kind enough to mail me a review copy, which I am still in the process of enjoying. It's part novel, part travel essay, part social commentary, and paints what I consider an honest picture of many of the realities of modern-day China. He doesn't fall into the trap of kowtowing to the middle kingdom and treating it's future global dominance as absolute certainty, as seems to be a trend now, but puts the country under a microscope, shares his observations, and lets readers draw thei ...more
Read the first 50 pages or so, then skipped ahead and read selective parts. I don't think I will get it out from the library again, but I did enjoy the 2 hours I spent reading it. I won't comment on the thesis of the book, but I have to admit that I think his take on China is probably accurate.
William Phenn
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You will never have to wonder about China and what it is like ever again. I gave it my highest A+ rating; it is a great book and it is a reading experience that will stay with you for a while.
Steve H
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Very well written. Learned a lot about China. He makes his point.Very negative about the people and the country. Need to read more to see if his conclusions are correct.
Oct 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extremely informative and eye opening!

Peter Christian
Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating study of China by a Canadian teacher living in Taiwan. Laden with nuggets, vignettes, lively histories, and sharply rendered, hard-traveled views.
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Darren Mitton
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Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Travelogue of visit through China. Funny.
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Oct 13, 2016
rated it it was ok
Jul 31, 2013
Kathryn Griffith
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