The Story Of China
After a century and a half of foreign invasion, civil war, and revolution, China has once again returned to center stage as a global superpower and the world’s second largest economy. But how did it become so dominant? Wood argues that in order to comprehend the great significance of China today, we must begin with its history.
The Story of China takes a fresh look at the Middle Kingdom in the light of the recent massive changes inside the country. Taking into account exciting new archeological discoveries, the book begins with China’s prehistory—the early dynasties, the origins of the Chinese state, and the roots of Chinese culture in the age of Confucius. Wood looks at particular periods and themes that are now being reevaluated by historians, such as the renaissance of the Song with its brilliant scientific discoveries. He paints a vibrant picture of the Qing Empire in the 18th century, just before the European impact, a time when China’s rich and diverse culture was at its height. Then, Wood explores the encounter with the West, the Opium Wars, the clashes with the British, and the extraordinarily rich debates in the late 19th century that pushed China along the path to modernity.
Finally, he provides a clear up-to-date account of post-1949 China, including revelations about the 1989 crisis based on newly leaked inside documents, and fresh insights into the new order of President Xi Jinping. All woven together with landscape history and the author’s own travel journals, The Story of China is the indispensable book about the most intriguing and powerful country on the world stage today.
Africa is forever on our TV screens, but the bad-news stories (famine, genocide, corruption) massively outweigh the good (South Africa). Ever since the process of decolonialisation began in the mid-1950s, and arguably before, the continent has appeared to be stuck in a process of irreversible decline. Constant war, improper use of natural resources and misappropriation of revenues and aid monies contribute to an impression of a continent beyond hope. How did we get here?
What, if anything, is to be done? Weaving together the key stories and characters of the last fifty years into a stunningly compelling and coherent narrative, Martin Meredith has produced the definitive history of how European ideas of how to organise 10,000 different ethnic groups has led to what Tony Blair described as the ‘scar on the conscience of the world’. Authoritative, provocative and consistently fascinating, this is a major book on one of the most important issues facing the West today.
One of America’s most versatile writers, author of bestselling biographies such as Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin, has assembled a gallery of portraits of (mostly) Americans that celebreate genius, talent, and versatility, and traces his own education as a writer and biographer.
In this collection of essays, the brilliant, acclaimed biographer Walter Isaacson reflects on lessons to be learned from Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, and other interesting characters he has chronicled both as biographer and journalist. The people he writes about have an awesome intelligence, but that is not the secret to their success. They had qualities that were even more rare, such as imagination and true curiousity.
Isaacson also reflects on how he became a writer, the lessons he learned from various people he met, and the challenges for journalism in the digital age.
He also offers loving tributes to his hometown of New Orleans, which offers many of the ingredients for a creative culture, and to the Louisiana novelist Walker Percy, who was an early mentor. In an anecdotal and personal way, Isaacson describes the joys of writing and the way that tales about the lives of fascinating people can enlighten our own lives.
Fred Kaplan, hailed by TheNew York Times as “a rare combination of defense intellectual and pugnacious reporter,” takes us into the White House Situation Room, the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s “Tank” in the Pentagon, and the vast chambers of Strategic Command to bring us the untold stories—based on exclusive interviews and previously classified documents—of how America’s presidents and generals have thought about, threatened, broached, and just barely avoided nuclear war from the dawn of the atomic age until today.
Kaplan’s historical research and deep reporting will stand as the permanent record of politics. Discussing theories that have dominated nightmare scenarios from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Kaplan presents the unthinkable in terms of mass destruction and demonstrates how the nuclear war reality will not go away, regardless of the dire consequences.
Witness to Justice is a personal account of the author’s time on ‘The Judicial Commission for the investigation of Human Rights Violation’ to which he was appointed by President Olusegun Obasanjo in June 1999. An incisive look at the systematic devaluation of human life that took place in Nigeria during the years of military rule, along with the culture of impunity that emerged over that period.
Known as the African Giant, Nigeria’s story is complex and often contradictory. How, despite the ravages of colonialism, civil war, ongoing economic disappointment and most recently the Boko Haram insurgency, has the country managed to stay together for a hundred years? Why, despite an abundance of oil, mineral and agricultural wealth, have so many of its people remained in poverty? These are the key questions explored by Richard Bourne in this remarkable and wide-ranging account of Nigeria’s history, from its creation in 1914 to the historic 2015 elections and beyond.
Featuring a wealth of original research and interviews, this is an essential insight into the shaping of a country where, despite the seemingly dashed optimism that was raised at independence, there remains hope ‘the Nigeria project’ may still succeed.