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Notes from China

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  69 ratings  ·  11 reviews
A journalistic tour de force, this wide-ranging collection by the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning biography Stilwell and the American Experience in China is a classic in its own right.

During the summer of 1972—a few short months after Nixon’s legendary visit to China—master historian Barbara W. Tuchman made her own trip to that country, spending six weeks in eleven
Paperback, 112 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1972)
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Porter Broyles
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to on Good Reads.

Tuchman is a well respected historian who won a Pulitzer for a book a Stillwell in China.

This book is what it says, notes from her visit to China in 1971. This makes her one of the first non Diplomats to visit the country in over a generation.

As such I consider this to be more of a primary source than a history. It is her reflection on the visit. It is followed by a short alternative history based upon the premise that Mao visited the US in 1945, which might have
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china, politics
Brief but informative, and Tuchman's style of succinct but detailed writing doesn't disappoint. This thin volume is exactly as the title says; her own notes from a trip to China in the early 1970's with her daughter. A first hand account of China just after rapprochement, in the waning days of Mao's rule (Mao died in 1976).

Most interesting however, is her essay "If Mao had come to Washington in 1945" which details how and why US/China relations didn't exist for such a long period. Although
Apr 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I really enjoyed The Guns of August also by Barbara Tuchman. So when I was looking for a title with a place in its name for my 30 NF Book Challenge and I saw this I thought win-win.

While not as compelling as GOA this was a thought provoking book. The book while insightful is short. I liked how she did not demonize communism as a purely evil way of being. She explains (not excuses) some of the actions taken by the communist government that makes it understandable (not excusable). She does not
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: china
A must for Tuchman completists. This is different from her other books since it is really a short set of notes on a trip she made to China in 1971 (?) ahead of Nixon's historic trip to that country.

She was specifically invited by the Chinese govt to take this trip. She doesn't hold back criticism though. She can also compare her experiences in 1971 with her previous trip to China in the 1930s.

This is a short book. Besides the notes on the trip, it contains an essay "If Mao had come to
Thomas Stark
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A small book of fewer than 80 pages, very dated in content, but you wouldn’t want to miss the final “what if” chapter.
Love the way her writing flows even in this short series of essays. Interesting how much has stayed the same despite the modernisation of China.
Talmadge Walker
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of journalistic essays Tuchman wrote while visiting China just prior to Nixon's arrival. This was in the waning years of the Cultural Revolution, when things were just beginning to loosen up though Mao was still alive and in control. Tuchman strives to be balanced and fair, praising the Chinese government for material progress (the Great Leap Forward and the early days of the CR were long past...) while remaining skeptical of the social aspects of the changes to the society. The ...more
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was written before a lot of the economic details of the Great Leap Forward came to be widely known, so there is a large gap there that verges pollyanna. But I guess if she's baselining China's development against being there in I believe the early 30s, then sure. She's an astute analyst and a great writer. I'll read anything she's written.
Stefan Fergus
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some of this is quite dated, of course. There’s one instance of bad historical analysis (re: Opium Wars), but for the main an interesting look at how foreigners (especially Americans) saw China at the time. The final chapter - reproduction of Tuchman’s Foreign Affairs piece, “If Mao Had Come to Washington in 1945” - is superb. (And gained this book the extra *.)
Charles Bookman
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a reissue of two essays from a leading historian of the twentieth century. She begins with an admission, “This is what I vowed I would never do—put ephemeral journalism between the covers of a book.” That these essays are worth reading nearly fifty years later rebuts her opening statement.
read more at .
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up on a whim, and started reading and devoured it all that afternoon.
If anything, it was interesting to compare 70s China to 2020 China - not to mention the outdated writing style.
But I enjoyed it.
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Barbara Wertheim Tuchman was an American self-trained historian and author and double Pulitzer Prize winner. She became best known for The Guns of August (1962), a history of the prelude and first month of World War I.

As an author, Tuchman focused on producing popular history. Her clear, dramatic storytelling covered topics as diverse as the 14th century and World War I, and sold millions of