A frightening, vital wake-up call: The West ignores the rise of an Orwellian China at its peril.
A chilling warning that China’s authoritarian rule is only growing more insidious.
In this highly relevant, frequently revelatory book, originally published in Germany in 2018, journalist Strittmatter, who has studied China for 30 years and was stationed in Beijing for a decade, argues that the opened-up China of Deng Xiaoping is an illusion. The state has used its new prosperity to essentially bribe the enlarged middle class to abide by increasingly autocratic measures, and the Chinese Communist Party has placed its leader, Xi Jinping, in a “godlike” position. “Both the Chinese people and the world at large have good reason to be nervous,” writes the author. Reintroducing an ideological mix of Mao, Marx, and Confucius, Xi is a brilliant technocrat who has engineered an authoritarian state. The election of Donald Trump, notes Strittmatter, has been a gift to China: confirmation of the West’s demise. While the West believed that China would gradually adopt democratic tendencies, that has not happened under Xi, who has strengthened the CCP and its ability to control the behavior and thought of the Chinese people: “He took on a diverse, lively, sometimes insubordinate society and did everything in his power to ‘harmonize’ it, as they say in China, stifling the voices of those who think differently and subordinating every last corner of society to the command of the Party.” In a systematic, well-written narrative, the author precisely examines the means by which China has achieved this “perfect storm…for democracies everywhere.” These include widespread censorship; the violent crackdown in Hong Kong; the continued persecution of the Muslim Uighurs minority, who have been subjected to a network of “re-education camps” not seen since the Nazi era; the misuse of technology to spread disinformation; the rewards system of “social trustworthiness” to keep citizens in line; and the use of terror and forced confessions. Strittmatter’s accessible yet hard-hitting narrative will find an audience with policymakers and general readers alike.A frightening, vital wake-up call: The West ignores the rise of an Orwellian China at its peril.
Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020
Page Count: 368
Publisher: Custom House/Morrow
Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020
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by Cassidy Hutchinson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 26, 2023
A mostly compelling account of one woman’s struggles within Trumpworld.
An insider’s account of the rampant misconduct within the Trump administration, including the tumult surrounding the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021.
Hutchinson, who served as an assistant to Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, gained national prominence when she testified to the House Select Committee, providing possibly the most damaging portrait of Trump’s erratic behavior to date. In her hotly anticipated memoir, the author traces the challenges and triumphs of her upbringing in New Jersey and the work (including a stint as an intern with Sen. Ted Cruz) that led her to coveted White House internships and eventual positions in the Office of Legislative Affairs and with Meadows. While the book offers few big reveals beyond her testimony (many details leaked before publication), her behind-the-scenes account of the chaotic Trump administration is intermittently insightful. Her initial portrait of Trump is less critical than those written by other former staffers, as the author gauges how his actions were seemingly stirred more by vanity and fear of appearing weak, rather than pure malevolency. For example, she recalls how he attended an event without a mask because he didn’t want to smear his face bronzer. Hutchinson also provides fairly nuanced portraits of Meadows and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who, along with Trump, eventually turned against her. She shares far more negative assessments about others in Trump’s orbit, including Rep. Matt Gaetz, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, and adviser Rudy Giuliani, recounting how Giuliani groped her backstage during Trump’s Jan. 6 speech. The narrative lags after the author leaves the White House, but the story intensifies as she’s faced with subpoenas to testify and is forced to undergo deep soul-searching before choosing to sever ties with Trump and provide the incriminating information that could help take him down.A mostly compelling account of one woman’s struggles within Trumpworld.
Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023
Page Count: 384
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023
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SEEN & HEARD
by Paul Kalanithi ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 19, 2016
A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2016
New York Times Bestseller
Pulitzer Prize Finalist
A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.
Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.
Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016
Page Count: 248
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015
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