Political and strategic overview of the Chinese-Vietnamese war. He defines it not as a short intensive strike which took place in the first months ofPolitical and strategic overview of the Chinese-Vietnamese war. He defines it not as a short intensive strike which took place in the first months of 1979, but a longer border clash which served to pressure the Vietnamese government, forced them to divert forces away from the occupation of Cambodia, and was partly the manifestation of lingering Sino-Soviet tensions. Zhang writes about the years before and after the war, as well as noting its relatively low profile in the historical record on the mainland.
The author also takes pains to reconstruct the events of the war itself, with troop movements, studies on PLA and PAVN military doctrine, and long-term economic effects. Despite the near-total lack of resources available for studying the top leadership of both China and Vietnam at the time, Zhang is also able to reconstruct orders and strategy from studies of provincial archives, military memoirs, and what few documents are available. That work alone would make this an impressive book....more
One of the scarce English-language books on the subject of Yemen. The first half covers the region's 'recent' history from the Ottoman conquests throuOne of the scarce English-language books on the subject of Yemen. The first half covers the region's 'recent' history from the Ottoman conquests through the British colonization and then independence, ending in 2000 with the bombing of the USS Cole.
The second half covers the period from 2000-2010, where Yemen remained largely unknown and isolated from the English-speaking world even under the duress of international terrorism and the establishment of AQAP.
Clark was born in British Yemen and speaks Yemeni Arabic - her writing is in a clear journalistic style, and she uses anecdotes to break up what would otherwise be an interminable list of names and dates. She writes on the importance of tribal relationships, the divide between north and south, and the plodding and uncertain future of Ali Abdullah Saleh (who would be ousted in 2012). The country was already running out of oil and water then, now it is under bombardment. ...more
Brisk, well-written narrative about Chinese relationships with Western powers, finding a long history of broken traits, mutual distrust, and backbitinBrisk, well-written narrative about Chinese relationships with Western powers, finding a long history of broken traits, mutual distrust, and backbiting. He starts after the end of WWI (incredibly enough, not in the middle of the Opium Wars or the Boxer Rebellion), and continues through the handover of Hong Kong in 1997.
Bickers takes a wide sweep - he covers art exhibitions, the tensions between Chinese city and countryside, and the 'yellow peril' in movies and books. He does not write about the Japanese and their interventions as much as I would like, but he gives a broad survey of the Russians in China as well - from the Empire through Soviet 'advisors', then removed after the 1960 Sino-Soviet Split.
He is critical of both foreign aggressors and Chinese excess - he knows that humiliation and invasion are a part of Chinese history, and yet he refuses to let the party-state dominate that narrative. An interesting book, not least because this history is not quite dead, and the People's Republic has largely inherited the old borders of the Qing Dynasty. ...more