Tiger Head, Snake Tails: China Today, How It Got There, and Where It Is Heading

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9781468305050: Tiger Head, Snake Tails: China Today, How It Got There, and Where It Is Heading
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The imminent collapse of the People's Republic of China has been foretold for years. Just as often, though, it has been predicted to be the future ruler of the world.

But despite the endless stream of soothsayers, there has been no single book that pulls together the whole of the China story, linking its very disparate elements to present a coherent portrait that explains what China is and why it matters so much. In this compelling and lucid account based on years of research and first-hand experience, rooted in on-the-ground reporting, interviews, observations, and a viewpoint that sees the country from the inside out, leading journalist and China expert Jonathan Fenby links the myriad features of today's rapidly evolving China. By seeing China as a whole--especially its history and involvement with the West--and connecting the dots, Fenby intelligently looks into its future, both internally and in relation to the rest of the world.

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About the Author:

Jonathan Fenby is the author of such books as the acclaimed Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-Shek and the China He Lost and Modern China. Previously he was the editor of both the Observer and the South China Morning Post.

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Journalist, consultant, and all-around China-expert Fenby (The Penguin Modern History of China, 2009) offers a panoramic overview of a nation moving at breakneck speed toward world dominance or total domestic chaos—or perhaps both. The tiger head is the China of the headlines: the China of exponential growth, unquenchable thirst for resources, and unstoppable quantities of increasingly high-quality goods. This is the China that, we are told, will one day define the future of post-American globalization. Fenby doesn’t suggest that this won’t happen. But he does remind us that, in the long run, the biggest obstacle to China’s success may be China itself, for China’s impressive growth statistics hide fundamental imbalances, inefficiencies, and structural weaknesses (the snake tails) that lessen the nation’s resilience and will ultimately require China to devote a disproportionate amount of its attention to domestic problems, at the expense of international leadership. Fenby’s analysis of current trends stands out in its vastness of scope and eye for telling detail. --Brendan Driscoll

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