Postcards From Tomorrow Square by James Fallows

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Postcards from Tomorrow SquareThis book consists of 12 chapters which were written between 2006-and 2008 when Fallows and his wife were living first in Shanghai and then Beijing and were traveling through many other part of China. I read it just prior  to our trip to China. Fallows was writing for the Atlantic Monthly and is considered by many people as the chronicler of  life in contemporary China – at least to many American readers. Although he does not speak Chinese he works as a good reporter who has lots of friends and contacts and does seem to get close to the people. He also arranges interviews with interesting, some important and many typical people in various situations and locations. It becomes clear that China does not speak with one voice nor can it be easily characterized. The difference between life in the cities and life in the rural poverty stricken western part of the country is well described. The book clarified as best as one might, the complicated relationship between the Communist government on a national level and the local government officials as they impact life in this vast country. And vast it is . It is the size of the country and the 1.5 billion people that also makes this land and  it’s people such an important force in the world. The freedom or lack of it to communicate in public or on the Internet, farming in the countryside, the growth of factories and manufacturing, how America out sources such to China, the failure and minor successes of trying to become green and deal with the environment, preparing for the 200 Olympics are some of the issues which this book explored. The author is very conscious of how Americans are trying to figure out China and whether to be fearful or embrace this country as we move into the 21st century. This book doesn’t fully answer the question but it is a good primer on this subject.

Category: H - Humor, P - Political | Tags: , , Comment »

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