Magazine October 17, 2011, Issue

Reluctant Dragon

China’s leader Deng Xiaoping salutes during a military parade in Beijing in 1981. (Cina Deng/Reuters)
Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China, by Ezra F. Vogel (Belknap, 928 pp., $39.95)

Over the past few decades, an increasing number of scholars have come to interpret Western history less as a linear progression and more as a periodic cycle punctuated by crises, of which our current economic disaster is the most recent. Yet even in the realist precincts of social science, some still long for a classic narrative structure, progressive motion, and world-historical heroes.

They have had slim pickings. In the early 1980s, attention fell briefly, unsatisfactorily, on Japan. As Japan’s growth flatlined, and the once-promising Soviet Union dissolved, the hero-meter edged toward China. Given China’s meteoric rise since that time, the needle

To Read the Full Story
Ethan Gutmann — Mr. Gutmann, an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is the author of Losing the New China: A Story of American Commerce, Desire, and Betrayal. He wishes to thank the Earhart Foundation and the Peder Wallenberg family for research support.

In This Issue



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