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Asia's Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific Century

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  146 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
"Often critical of Washington's 'combination of idealism and arrogance, ' McGregor offers detailed, vivid descriptions of America's Asian diplomacy." --Publishers Weekly

A history of the combative military, diplomatic, and economic relations among China, Japan, and the United States since the 1970s--and the potential crisis that awaits them

Richard McGregor's Asia's Reckoni
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Viking
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Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
The funny story is that this trilateral relationship between China, Japan, and the United States, which is so tensely wound-up, was not so even after the establishment of the people's republic. Mao Zedong himself even made a perverse joke to a visiting Japanese delegation, thanking them for invading China, without which the establishment of his state and the dismantling of the Guomindang would not have been possible.

This study, written by a Financial Times correspondent, as well as a well-estab
This deeply researched look at the China, Japan, U.S. triangle of strategic alliances is thickly studded with anecdote and new material uncovered in Freedom of Information requests, document declassifications, on-the-ground observation, and high-level meeting transcripts. Even the Introduction and Afterword are packed with unique material when these areas are more commonly places for overview and summing up. Altogether it is an achievement that will be the backbone for Asia-gazing for years to c ...more
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A riveting account of Sino-Japanese relations since the end of WWII. McGregor takes us behind the scenes right where the action is. Featuring extensive blow-by-blow coverage of the fraught relationship between a once economically and militarily superior Japan (which occupied large parts of China during the war) and a newly rising China, you will be made privy to the numerous clashes between top officials and diplomats of both countries through each successive administration as they wrestle for A ...more
Matt Schiavenza
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An exceptionally interesting, well-reported book on the world's most important trilateral relationship: China, Japan, and the United States. This is not a mere piece of punditry: McGregor makes judicious use of diplomatic cables, historical knowledge, and his own reporting during his years as a Financial Times correspondent to present these relationships in astonishing detail. In addition to understanding the strategic position of the three countries, the reader also gleans how domestic politics ...more
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: china, japan, history
Sneak Review; originally published on

Richard McGregor, former FT Beijing Bureau Chief and author of The Party, a widely acclaimed account on the internal workings of China’s ruling bureaucratic apparatus, has completed his next book, Asia’s Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific Century, which will be available starting this August. His scholarly talk at the Shanghai Foreign Correspondents Club confirmed the global relevance of Sin
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
To address the first question that inevitably arises from the title, Asia refers more specifically to China and Japan, with the inevitable participant of the USA, with other countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam and the Koreas in a supporting role. As such, the book is really a history of China, Japan and United States relations, and a fine history it is.
Richard McGregor has clearly devoted considerable historical scholarship and behind the scenes investigation to deliver what clearly is a
There was nothing I didn't enjoy about this: It was comprehensive, compelling, and fascinatingly vivid, though not airbrushed, to the point at which it was difficult to believe that these were politicians in charge of running some of the most sprawling and powerful hegemonies in the world. A forever-student of Japanese history, a Japan-ophile at points, this was a great reminder of the convoluted concepts that exist in other cultures - the idea of face, and that is something that can be lost. Ha ...more
China, Japan and the United States have a tangled relationship. In just the past 100 years, each of them have separately fought against the other two and aligned themselves together at various points. Economically they are joined at the hip and politically they are at each other's throats.

Why I started this book: Trying to learn more about the country that I am living in and it's history.

Why I finished it: Fascinating behind the scenes access to the leaders of these countries, their political ci
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous history of US/Japanese/Chinese relations. The reader will come away with a stronger understanding of Chinese decision making, the importance of history (specifically WWII) in the region, and what present US behavior means for the future.
Spencer Brown
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable read. McGregor does the difficult by making a non-fiction narrative on diplomacy compelling throughout the entire book, and avoids the normal trap of being too erudite (as these books can be). I’d recommend it for anyone vaguely interested in the Asia-pacific region, or just diplomacy in general. Not much prior knowledge is needed for this book.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting account on the trilateral relationship between the US, China & Japan (in other words three biggest economies of the world) since post-worldwar-II. I always thought of the Sino-japanese turbulent relationship from the point of view of their historical baggage, Senkaku island dispute and Yasukuni Shrine visits but if you throw US(not to mention Taiwan, South Korea) in the middle it completely changes the equation and gives a new perspective to the East Asia security. Thi ...more
Randall Harrison
Whew! Reading this book was a long, tough slog for me. Glad I read it but...

I have familiarity with the histories of both countries in the modern era given undergraduate and graduate coursework. Despite this knowledge, McGregor's analysis, while thorough, didn't make this complicated subject any clearer for me to understand nor give me any additional perspective.

This book isn't really the general survey I expected. It was more like a text for a graduate seminar analyzing the domestic and foreig
Nathan Partridge
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A phenomenal play-by-play look at the ups, downs, and intricacies of the diplomatic relationships between China, Japan, and the United States. I found McGregor's writing to be stellar, avoiding the dullness present in other books on similar topics, as well as bringing out the character of key figures and events in this field over the past half-century in a way that is evocative without dipping into caricature. Largely an exercise in contextualizing the goings-on in three-pronged relations and il ...more
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: asian-lit
A wonderful and very interesting book, outlining the interaction of China, Japan and the USA since WWII and the look into the possible future. The author is very knowledgeable and able to make this tripartite history very interesting, filed with little details that flesh the reason for certain actions taken by each country and how these actions have led and will lead to future actions and interactions...Anyone interested in the real world of tomorrow, the world where Asia, the USA and Europe wil ...more
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asia, history
I started to listen to this book with a very basic understanding/knowledge of US-China-Japan relations so I cannot comment on how accurate it is. I found it a very easy to follow and understand and I feel that McGregor did a good job explaining the different relationships between countries and leaders at different times. It was interesting to read an educated explanation of affairs that I briefly remember from the news.
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the best overviews of the unresolved historical issues between Japan and China, McGregor's book draws on a trove of US and Japanese reporting, as well as what Chinese reporting is available to give a chronological analysis of some of the root causes of the tensions between China and Japan. McGregor is explicit in the unavailability of Chinese sources for much of his analysis, though this does not appear to influence McGregor's narrative in any direction.
Adam Gutschenritter
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Lots of background on the relationship between the 3 main countries (Japan, USA and China). I was told it was a good book to just have on the shelf for reference and I strongly support that assessment. This is a must have to get a over all grasp of the relationships, and personalities of East Asia Geopolitics.
Jonathan Yu
It starts out really good but it gets sketchy near the end
Manish Chaulagain
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best book in explaining the relations between China ,Japan and USA more specifically the role played by the US in between Japan and China. The book is detailed and it shows the inner bargaining and the inner plots which we can't see.

Ken Hamner
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it

Pretty informative book about the tensions in the region and the still unresolved animosities that stem from historical conflicts.
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Haiku Review:

We may not be friends
But circumstances demand
We make this thing work.
Sam Seitz
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Unlike much of the popular literature on Asian politics, this book provides a well-researched and comprehensive look at the relationship between China, Japan, and the United States. Asia’s Reckoning will likely not fundamentally upend your beliefs about Asia, as it is fairly mainstream in its analysis and arguments. However, it is absolutely packed with interesting facts, anecdotes, and stories that are the result of McGregor’s long experience with the region and liberal use of FOIA requests. In ...more
Andrew Baker
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Jeffrey Moseley
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Jerry Cronin
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Taylor Vogel
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