Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Fall and Rise of China” as Want to Read:
The Fall and Rise of China
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Fall and Rise of China

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  497 ratings  ·  71 reviews
The Fall and Rise of China, taught by China expert and Professor Richard Baum of the University of California, Los Angeles, brings to vivid life the human struggles, the titanic political upheavals, and the spectacular speed of China's modern rebirth. Offering multilevel insight into one of the most astounding real-life dramas of modern history, The Fall and Rise of China ...more
Audio CD, 24 pages
Published 2010 by The Teaching Company
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Fall and Rise of China, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Fall and Rise of China

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  497 ratings  ·  71 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Fall and Rise of China
Clif Hostetler
Oct 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lecture
The decline of China began in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries when the opium trade shifted their trade balance into negative territory. (Why do I have this ominous feeling that China is currently getting their revenge?) Indeed, many people predict that the 21st Century will be the Chinese Century.

Given Chinas prominence in the world today I figured that this was a good time to listen to these 48 lectures. The course progresses with all the drama of a great story. From time to time
Gary  Beauregard Bottomley
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It was not my fault; the Gang of Four poisoned my mind as I held up five fingers with the implication being that Mao was at fault too. I think Ill blame them too for me not having had known anything about China history since 1750 including how creepy the British were with their Boxer Rebellion and foisting opium on to the Chinese masses in order to enrich the coffers of the British, or for have not knowing what Maoism meant and how cults can lead to a cultural revolution, starvation and mass ...more
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tgc
Rather than a book, this is a series of 48 - 1/2 hour lectures (you have your choice of audio of video format...I'm cheap so I went audio...after waiting for a sale & a coupon...check out It is not cheap, but it was worth it in my case). We're planning a China trip, so I was motivated to learn a bit about the recent history of the country and perhaps appreciate the surroundings of the cities and countrysides more easily.
Dr Baum, the lecturer, had studied China for more than 4
Haoyan Do
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has put together many events, which when I learned long time ago in school, I wasn't able to put the causal links and innate connections in a more comprehensive way. For example, the book presented the real figure of the bi-lateral trade between China and Britain in those years before the Opium War and made the cause of the war really clear. Somehow I wish that the author could go into more details with more elaborations on events and anecdotes, but that is too much to wish for in a ...more
Jesse Field
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: learn
I freely admit listening to most of these twice or even three times this past month as I lectured on Chinese history. Not only is Baum an excellent and engaging lecturer, a true role model, he goes all the way to the 2008 Olympics and beyond, pushing forward the interpretation of contemporary Chinese history as a burgeoning superpower still obsessed with overturning those unequal treaties that put it in such a difficult spot during the 19th century, and returning to an idealized version of the ...more
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, audible
Good insights into and overview of China's modern history. The professor is self-focused (as many are in my experience), calling attention to his own excursions and endeavours. These digressions may be pertinent, but can also leave the listener with a feeling of the instructor's biases.

Produced in 2013, so a little dated in its forward-looking optimism, (the latest iteration of the CCP has become far more hostile to freedom).
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A very good overview of the history of China from Mao to 1990. The lecturer is articulate, well spoken and passionate about the subject. Definitely worth the 48 hr time commitment
Tariq Mahmood
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The lectures are the best way to understand modern China. The professor builds the image of an inward-looking China, which lost its way before the second world war only to regain its rightful position in the world order now. It's clear to me that the Chinese deserve their place among the top nations of the world. I think they should be given this right because they are very different from the militant Japanese cousins. Chinese have really taken to Confucius, they are only really concerned with ...more
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The lecture series works on almost all the counts perfectly: the topic is extremely important and relatively uncovered. The views are largely unbiased even if one disagrees with many of the conclusions. The style is completely engaging with the professor mixing the landmark historical events with personal anecdotes or interesting normal life incidents to create a sense of a grand, purposeful story rumbling towards a rousing climax. And most importantly, the details are rich, illuminating and ...more
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very good series of lectures.

The complex, multi-faceted nature of Mao's personality and leadership I found especially fascinating and well done. The presenter often has a surprising up-close and personal platform to observe many of China's recent events. There are probably few China-watchers with such a position. The personal impressions and anecdotes were appreciated, as well as the smooth spoken delivery of those often hard to remember Chinese names. Somehow he managed to render them
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look into the Rise & Fall of China, starting round about the mid-1800's. Exploited by many nations to the extent it's hard to decide who was the worst. Think of the Opium War, the Japanese invasion(s) & consequent slaughter of thousands etc. all inspired by greed. But in many ways the Chinese were there own worse enemy. Think of the millions imprisoned & killed by Mao-Tse-Tung purely on ideological grounds. But in the last few decades great strides have been made in the ...more
Colin Hoad
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-books
This is one of the best lecture series I have ever listened to. It is incredibly informative, very easy to listen to and utterly compelling. Professor Baum is a really engaging lecturer who clearly has a love for his subject matter. Far from the dry and overly academic delivery one might expect from a lecture series, this is in fact a set of exciting, educational and entertaining installments, each focused on a particular episode or period of Chinese history. Professor Baum is the perfect guide, ...more
Livio Dinaj
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An epic narrative of the history of China from the perspective of a professor who has had rather close ties with the mainland throughout some of the most monumental moments in its history. This personal experience, combined with a very wide range of sources, makes this book (or rather course) a very captivating and educating experience. The author's wit, combined with his self deprecating tone of one that is after all, just a foreign "barbarian" who is peering from the outside in, sets a very ...more
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Balanced and insightful, Dr. Baum clearly loved the Chinese culture and brings a lot of clarity to the current situation in China via this country's modern history. I only wish I had listened to this lecture series before/during our exchange student's stay with us, because now I've lost the opportunity to have free conversations with him about his homeland. I also think the political and cultural differences between our two families would have made more sense if I had better understood the place ...more
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This audio book mostly covers the fall of China during the 18th and 19th century followed by its slow ascent during the 20th century up until around 2010. It was a very informative book tying in events I knew in isolation and giving me a better grasp of how China's Communism mutated into a Capitalist powerhouse while still under a totalitarian Communist regime. The rivalries with the USSR and the relationship with the US was much more clearer after this book. Well worth the read. It makes me ...more
Oleg Ilyenko
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The history of China is quite fascinating. Really makes me sad to see so many tragic events. Got me thinking about the price and nature of human life and ideology in the grand scheme of things. Amazing to see how some key individuals were able to prevent the country from raising so much earlier. I wonder how different China would be today if Hundred Days' Reform was successful and Empress Cixi hasn't stopped it from happening...
Fate's Lady
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
China is a strange country, and this illuminates a lot of details I only knew in broad strokes, if at all. Though it begins with a brief sketch of historical China, most of the lectures focus on the rise, development, and turbulence of communism in Chinese culture. It's quite complex and pretty interesting, and the lecturer has a lot of personal knowledge of many major events. It's amazing how many he witnessed himself.
Piotr Uryga
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series of lectures starts off on a very interesting note describing history of China and allows us to understand where the newest superpower in the world comes from.
Especially the 19th century part was interesting to me with a description of the double standard of most European nations and craziness of Opium Wars.
Rise to power of Mao and CCP was very interesting too.
I lower my review by one star for a quite brief description of recent years.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I listened to it--it is long, but interesting. I lived through this history without knowing much about it. Having a son in China and preparing a visit ai decided to get some background. Learned lots, won't remember half, needed a printed copy to see the names and places he was talking about. But Baum is a good lecturer and has a passion for his subject. Good listen.
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Extremely informative and interesting. As the lectures go on you begin to realize that many times Professor Baum was right in the middle of the action. Very fun and intriguing for the most part although the pace tailed off a bit at the end when the lectures begin to discuss the modern policies. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the formation of modern China.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very interesting and engaging overview of Chinese history. If you want a basic understanding of how China got to the state that it is in today, these lectures will help a lot.

The crazy and often tragic path that China has taken over the last century is fascinating, especially when read by this narrator who clearly has a passion for the subject
Cristian Iorga
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
48 lectures takes some commitment and grinding even with the best content. I have learned many things and I feel that I now have some context to process information about China, its culture and people.
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent account of Chinese history. The depth of empathy and understanding of the people was what really put this lecture over the top for me, along with the many personal anecdotes Baum had experienced in China.
Craig Bergland
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Simply outstanding! In part, this course brought back memories of an Asian Studies course I took - but that was 40 years ago, and a lot has happened since then! I learned a lot, and the presentation was very good, too.
Olivier Van
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic and engaging lectures. Must read if you want to know how China went from imperial to communist and to it's current days Chinese interpretation of socialism.
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lecture-style with a little storytelling. Comprehensive era by era view of China's history.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really great look at china over the last 150 years. A little long in the tooth sometimes but well, well worth it.
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good audiobook for long walks. Recommendable position for everyone who is interested in learning a bit more about China.
Douglas O'laughlin
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow this is probably the best the great courses I have ever listened to. The lecturer seems to be one of the most eligible westerners alive to speak on this. ...more
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The History of the United States
  • The Other Side of History : Daily Life in the Ancient World
  • The Vikings
  • Understanding Japan: A Cultural History
  • The Story of Human Language
  • The Medieval World
  • From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History
  • The Great Ideas of Philosophy
  • The Foundations of Eastern Civilization
  • The History of Ancient Rome
  • The American West: History, Myth, and Legacy
  • History Of The Ancient World: A Global Perspective
  • Great Mythologies of the World
  • Law School for Everyone
  • The High Middle Ages
  • Why You Are Who You Are: Investigations Into Human Personality
  • The Rise and Fall of the British Empire
  • The Science of Energy: Resources and Power Explained
See similar books…
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads' database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Dr. Richard Baum is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at UCLA, where he specializes in the study of modern Chinese politics and foreign relations. He earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Professor Baum has

News & Interviews

Twists, turns, and whodunits. We pride ourselves on recommending some great mysteries and thrillers here at the Goodreads office. So, we decided...
76 likes · 30 comments