Reading Round-Up: Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China

With this month’s 100th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution, we might expect that this would be the perfect time for a big biography of one of that movement’s key players—Sun Yat-sen, perhaps. Not so, though Sun did get turned into an opera star in a show performed in Hong Kong but canceled in Beijing, and David Strand’s new book, An Unfinished Republic, does examine Sun’s life as part of twentieth-century Chinese political culture. Instead, another figure takes center stage in 2011’s biggest (both literally and figuratively) China book: Ezra Vogel’s 928-page Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press). Below, a collection of links about the book itself, as well as some of the many reviews that have appeared recently.

• At the Asia Society’s website, first read a short excerpt from Vogel’s book, then watch Vogel discuss his work with Orville Schell in video from a public event held on October 4 (clips here; full video here).

• David Barboza interviews Vogel for the New York Times Arts Beat blog.

• “Surviving Mao, Revamping a Nation”: Howard French reviews the book for the Wall Street Journal.

• At the New York Review of Books, Fang Lizhi examines “The Real Deng.”

• Jonathan Mirsky’s New York Times review, “How Deng Did It.”

• John Pomfret on the book for the Washington Post.

• At Foreign Policy, Christian Caryl takes a peek at “The Skeletons in Deng’s Closet.”

• “The ‘Steel Factory’”: Edward S. Steinfeld’s review at Harvard Magazine

• Joshua Kurlantzick has a long essay on the book and other matters in The Nation.

• Chris Patten’s review for the Financial Times.

• The Economist‘s review speaks of Deng not as the transformer of China, but as “The Great Stabliser.”

• J. Stapleton Roy reviews Vogel’s book for the Wilson Quarterly.

• Finally, in an article from earlier this year at Miller-McCune, Jeff Wasserstrom brings Vogel’s book into a discussion of “Whose Road Led to Hu’s China?”

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