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The Hundred-Year Marathon: China's Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,354 ratings  ·  173 reviews

One of the U.S. government's leading China experts reveals the hidden strategy fueling that country's rise – and how Americans have been seduced into helping China overtake us as the world's leading superpower.

For more than forty years, the United States has played an indispensable role helping the Chinese government build a booming economy, develop its scientific and

Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published February 3rd 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published November 11th 2014)
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Joseph Spuckler
The Hundred-Year Marathon: China's Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury is a re-examination of the US-Chinese relationship over the four decades. Pillsbury earned his BA from Stanford and his PhD from Columbia University. He has been an influence on US policy for several presidential administrations.

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend" is a very old maxim and is generally thought to be true. However, in dealing with China this is probably far from the
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review is long because the book deserves it. Most of the review will involve disagreement, because agreement is easy to express, while disagreement requires elaboration. But as a whole, this book is interesting and I recommend it without reservation.

Having heard much about this book, I was compelled to read it in one sitting. The obvious strengths of this book are the expertise and credibility of the author, and the truly original material brought to light within the book, some of it
Tao Xie Professor, at Beijing Foreign Studies University, on the book: "a total conspiracy theory".

Beijing paper cover 'Outsider strikes back'

"We're in year 65". Thence 35 more years to go.
2049: ends marathon.

With Abe's rush-visit to the USA next week, many wonder about Asia; how will Trump handle the "pivot"? Some speak of "unpredictability", some of "isolationism"; others about "the deal-maker" or even the "outsourcing". True, many "unknowns". The Dragon is watching, in the meantime.

Apr 08, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china
The book's main flaw is that it is essentially a case of the pot calling the kettle black. It is a paranoid analysis of the current Sino-American situation (or shi) by a China dove turned hawk, who is now alarmed the US is losing its grip on overwhelming geopolitical power. A person who once acted as a spy complaining about subterfuge and deception is rather self-serving. But the theme of good vs. evil allows the good side to be excused for doing the same thing because its "intention" is good. A ...more
Tom LA
Not finished yet but it won’t let me write more than 420 characters in the update box.

So.... I’m confused. The author tries to make the case that “China has been duping us all by pretending to not be interested in global hegemony, while in reality it is and it’s always been”. My question is : so what? It’s not like this is a terrible secret that changes everything.

In fact, given the direction and the unstoppable force of the Chinese economy, China’s upcoming economic hegemony is out there, for
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pillsbury used to be supportive of China, but later got disillusioned with it. He was welcomed when he was supportive, but denied visa and access when he became critical. According to Pillsbury:

1. China is patient and can plan for 100 years. and it knows how to play Go (wei qi) very well. All the friendly gestures are fake, and the politburo thinks America is the enemy, intent on suppressing its peaceful rise. He posited that all the American leaders had not been able to see though China’s real
Bill Powers
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In The Hundred-Year Marathon, Michael Pillsbury has done an excellent job explaining China’s long-term plan to catch-up to and replace the United States as the single global hegemon – from both an economic and military standpoint and how China’s plan involves using the United States to achieve their goals. Pillsbury even admits that as a “US China expert”, he was fooled by China for many years.
Granted it is one man’s point of view, but it is one that should be taken seriously. Hopefully people
“The best way to win a race is to be the only one that knows there is a race”

This book should give us all pause as to what China is doing across the world and the perception it is laying out to all observers.

Do yourself a favor and read this book. If you have any interest on what’s going to happen in the next 20 years, a big player involves one that is in this book.
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Hundred Year Marathon is an earth shattering account of how a whole generation of US government officials and China experts have gotten China completely wrong, and how US China policy is grounded in naivety and wishful thinking. Among the main misconceptions Pillsbury highlights in his book are;
China’s Hawks are far more numerous and influential than were previously thought, and even mainstream politicians are not as moderate as they appear
The US fundamentally does not grasp Chinese
A Man Called Ove
“It is China’s intention to be the greatest power in the world and to be accepted as China, not as an honorary member of the West.… At the core of their mind-set is their world before colonization and the exploitation and humiliation that brought. If you believe that there is going to be a revolution of some sort in China for democracy, you are wrong.… The Chinese people want a revived China. Their great advantage is not in military influence but in their economic influence.… Their influence can ...more
I reviewed a pre-publication copy of Michael Pillsbury’s book, The Hundred Year Marathon, subtitled China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower. This book was an eye-opener for me in a number of ways. Let me begin by saying that I am a ‘layman’ interested in China who spent 30 years directly or indirectly working for the technical and analytic sides of the intelligence community—none of them involving China.

He distances himself for so-called China experts who do not have
Robert Sanek
Apr 01, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
Listened to about 2 hours of this. There are two key problems with the book.

The first is that it seems like almost all of the content depends on just one source, the author. There are a bunch of red flags in the text that point to this, like the conspiratorial language that's used, the author's insistence that other China experts don't understand Chinese nearly as well as he does (and so should be ignored), or claims that others have been successfully 'duped' by China's public statements but
Julie Clark
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Hundred Year Marathon is a book that will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about the relationship between China and the US. Even if you don’t think this is something that will affect you, I can promise you this book will change your mind.

The insights Michael Pillsbury provides on China- US relations will give you chills. The information is well sourced, presented in a way that shows the bold truth on this subject matter. It’s broken down in easy to understand terms, making
Alexander Fitzgerald
An extremely enjoyable book about the chess game China and the United States are playing.

The author admits he felt fooled by China. He says he was in their corner for years while working for the United States

While I'm sure a great deal of this book is Pillsbury's conjecture and opinion, I respect his honesty. I trust men who own up to mistakes that attack their credibility. He lets you know where he's coming from.

As with all matters, you need to read ten opposing books to get any idea of what's
Laurence Giliotti
If you are a new observer to the rise of China, or have followed the political, military and economic event for decades this is a worthwhile read.
In the first case: It serves as a primer to bring you up to speed (at least to 2015) with a perspective to assess the current government focus on Sino-American issues.
In the second: It is a well documented walk down memory lane from an author who has spent his professional career immersed in the issues. Although, I can think of dangerous blunders made
Nov 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While setting timelines and predictions is always a difficult business, since China has already done us the favor of setting its two centenary goals, Pillsbury's book -- despite the rhetorical blunder -- offers an American perspective on Chinese efforts to reach both goals. It also offers an inside look at how one of Trump's "people" thinks about China policy. Hawkish and full of China threat theory in its finest form, but worth pressing on, if one can get beyond the memoir style rife with ...more
Glen Stott
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1949, China committed itself to a hundred-year marathon to supplant the United States the one global superpower. Pillsbury was interested in China from an early age. He spent a lot of time there and became fluent in Mandarin Chinese. He served in various capacities in the administrations of every President from Nixon to Obama. He subscribed to the accepted premise that China was weak, desired to become democratic, and needed American help to do it. After decades of developing relationships ...more
Will Clausen
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book from a seemingly highly credible author. Didn't know anything about China before, still feel mostly in the dark. The core thesis is exactly what's in the title. I'm not sure whether Pillsbury's idea falls more in the camp of conspiracy theories or is something Americans should be legitimately concerned about. On the one hand, it's been nice for me to think of China as a peaceful ally of the United States, whose interests fundamentally align with those of the US and Western ...more
Robert Melnyk
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extremely interesting, informative, and scary book about China's strategy to overtake the United States as the world's foremost superpower. In recent years, many people in the U.S. have been focused on RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA! According to Michael Pillsbury, the real problem is China. Pillsbury has served as an advisor on China to presidents from Nixon to Obama. He speaks and reads fluent Mandarin. He knows what he is talking about. He admits that he too was fooled into thinking that China wants ...more
Ryan Lackey
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book from an expert on China who basically says he (and other China experts) fell for strategic deception by China and thus dramatically underestimated them as a rival and strategic threat. Essentially the argument is that China views the US as "the declining hegemon" and that for China to be successful it must take the place of the US ("no two suns in the sky"), and that the correct strategy is not to focus on military confrontation but rather to build economic and political power to the ...more
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ruled by dynasties for thousands of years, it's hard to imagine our intelligence, think tanks, academics, all missed the nuanced messaging of the Chinese.. Especially after Mao. What was everyone thinking? That a country who emphasized the whole over the individual would ever gravitate towards Western thinking, as we assumed... it's just not in their DNA.

I was surprised by our CIA and the presidents overlooking the culture and communication nuances. Misreading every cue according to the author.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for anyone who values freedom of thought and wants to understand the most important issue facing the world today.

As a country, we actively worked to lift China out of poverty, beginning in the 70s. We tried to be their friend. Yet they have pursued policies meant to bring us down. A knife in the back was our payback. And now they are taking Canadian hostages. The Chinese government is a cancer in the world and needs to be contained like we did with the Soviets. Evil, at its core, is
Kelvin Heppner
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very relevant
William Harrison
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full of good info on China today and lessons from their history. Would be curious to hear the more dovish side.
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This should be required reading for every politician in the U. S. Government.
Tonu Pius
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. This book, although very intriguing, was totally one-sided. This bias occasionally detracted from the validity of the message the author was trying to convey but nevertheless, I still enjoyed it.
Muhammad Istiaq
Pilsbury seems delusional and paranoid as he describes China’s plan to overcome US economically and then militarily, and finally exposes his true color by advising US to follow the same strategies that his convoluted mind imagined China has been pursuing for the last 70 years. Waste of time unless you want to understand how extreme rights in US see the world through their distorted thought process.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
China is in it for the long run....
Nick Hernandez
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In October 2019, Xi Jinping warns efforts to divide China will end in 'crushed bodies and shattered bones'. Do you want to know why he said that? Do you want to know why they’re are riots in Hong Kong and Taiwan? Do you want to know why we no longer hear about the Tiananmen Square massacre, Tibet, or the Dalai Lama? Do you want to know why President Trump is taking such a hardline stance against Communist China? READ THIS BOOK! What an eye opener it is!!
Sep 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china
Kind of book with lot of hegemon and hegemony thrown around, american paranoia at its peak. It’s time for the great american cycle of creating the evil adversary and deceiving Americans into legitimising American aggression and foreign policy. But have to give it to the author for an entertaining read.
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Michael Pillsbury

Michael Pillsbury is the director of the Center on Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute and has served in presidential administrations from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. Educated at Stanford and Columbia Universities, he is a former analyst at the RAND Corporation and research fellow at Harvard and has served in senior positions in the Defense Department and on the staff of
“Chinese literature on strategy from Sun Tzu through Mao Tse-tung has emphasized deception more than many military doctrines. Chinese deception is oriented mainly toward inducing the enemy to act inexpediently and less toward protecting the integrity of one’s own plans. In other cultures, particularly Western, deception is used primarily with the intention of ensuring that one’s own forces can realize their maximum striking potential … the prevalent payoff of deception for the Chinese is that one does not have to use one’s own forces.… Chinese tend to shroud their means in secrecy and not publicize the day-to-day activities of those in power; for surprise and deception are assumed to be vital.28” 2 likes
“From thwarting reconstruction efforts and economic development in war-ravaged Afghanistan to offering lifelines to embattled anti-Western governments in Sudan and North Korea, China has opposed the actions and goals of the U.S. government. Indeed, China is building its own relationships with America’s allies and enemies that contradict any peaceful or productive intentions of Beijing.” 1 likes
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