A lucid if stolid overview of regional history, useful for students of Pacific affairs in playing out scenarios of what...



A long-view look at events that are making China’s neighbors—and much of the world beyond—very nervous indeed.

To understand the present, interrogate the past: it’s always a good habit for those seeking to play power politics on the world stage. In the case of China, by journalist/historian French’s (China's Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa, 2014, etc.) account, the past is never far from view. One element of it is the Pax Sinica that reigned in the 19th century, when China’s rulers were able to extend Chinese influence over a broad geographical area—particularly far out into the Pacific—by making a calculated trade: “Accept our superiority and we will confer upon you political legitimacy, develop a trade partnership, and provide a range of what are known in the language of modern international affairs as public goods.” The resulting tribute system cost China, in terms of sheer treasure, but provided stability and other rewards. Through a combination of hard and soft power, China is seeking to re-establish something of that regional dominance, coming up against its longtime rival, Japan, but also the United States. That rivalry is playing out in trade disputes, the construction of miniature settlements and even a “prefectural-level city” atop remote coral atolls, and an increased naval presence on the high seas. In that long view, stretching back thousands of years and to more recent moments such as China’s war on Japanese pirates working the waters off Taiwan, these recent developments are of a piece. French does yeomanlike work with these historical patterns, but the more valuable part of his book lies in his deductions of what they mean for future international relations, for those patterns point to a better geopolitical position for the U.S. than other analysts have projected—and all because of demographics and not necessarily any military edge either nation might hold.

A lucid if stolid overview of regional history, useful for students of Pacific affairs in playing out scenarios of what might happen next.

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-35332-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 27, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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