An insightful, compelling introduction to the intricacies of Chinese business and life.

Understanding China


An American expatriate in China explores the country’s culture, citizens, and economy in this open-minded meditation.

Moreau, now retired and living in Beijing, arrived in China in 2007 to run a glass factory for an American corporation and experienced a sink-or-swim immersion in its sometimes-baffling, always intriguing mores. His memoir-cum-reflection covers everything from Chinese etiquette, holidays, and cuisine to the country’s medical system, police force, and geopolitical ambitions. This debut book traces China’s idiosyncrasies to the deep imprint of Confucian and Taoist philosophies. In contrast to the West’s “linear” and “deductive” logic, based on clear cause-and-effect relationships and moral absolutes, Moreau argues, Chinese society is infused with “inductive” and holistic reasoning that takes the world as a given and values social harmony above rigid ideals. The result, he contends, is that the Chinese are pragmatic and flexible but incurious and lacking in innovation. These broad generalizations are sometimes overdrawn and look for philosophical rationales where more prosaic explanations might do. (For example, Chinese business executives’ preference for making informal compromises with government demands, rather than standing on legal principle, probably owes more to the nation’s lack of an independent judiciary than to Confucian precepts.) Moreau’s examinations of day-to-day life and habits include discussions about the difficulty of learning to read and speak Mandarin, the irrepressible anarchy of Chinese driving, the tightknit bonds of Chinese families and folkways and the difficulty foreigners face in coping with them (his advice is to be proudly foreign—the Chinese expect it), and the official crackdown on, um, funeral strippers. Moreau expertly examines Chinese business culture and writes shrewdly about subjects ranging from how to navigate rabidly hard-nosed Chinese business negotiations—the silent treatment is his secret weapon—to the increasing difficulties that Western companies, addicted to set-in-stone “process” and paperwork, face in China’s hypercompetitive domestic marketplace. Moreau’s well-informed but highly readable and entertaining prose strikes a nice balance between revealing anecdotes and thoughtful analyses. Westerners interested in or traveling to China can learn much from his engaging observations.

An insightful, compelling introduction to the intricacies of Chinese business and life.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5170-0886-4

Page Count: 322

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.


Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.


Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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