THE TRANSPACIFIC EXPERIMENT

HOW CHINA AND CALIFORNIA COLLABORATE AND COMPETE FOR OUR FUTURE

Timely reading in an era of looming trade wars and the decline of American economic supremacy.

The United States and China are rivals on many fronts—and in California, “the world’s two most powerful countries are meeting, cooperating, and competing.”

Journalist Sheehan, a Californian who logged more than five years working in China, turns in a suggestive portrait of a place in which Chinese money has been responsible for no small amount of economic activity: the San Francisco Shipyards, say, “the city’s largest housing and retail development in decades,” and Hollywood, where many of today’s blockbusters have Chinese backing. In exchange, California-based companies such as Apple and Google have provided a lucrative outlet for Chinese manufacture while introducing new technologies into the Chinese market. In all, writes the author, China has reversed the position it held a century ago, a poor country whose chief export was labor. It has done so in at least some respects by shaping an image of California to suit itself: “blue skies, top universities, innovative technology, and global blockbusters.” The transformation has left China less dependent on outside markets—where Chinese graduate students in American universities once remained here, by one measure, most now return home with their advanced learning and skills—but has not substantially diminished the relationship between what Sheehan characterizes as America’s most liberal state and a stubbornly totalitarian government. Politics enters the picture along several fronts. Sheehan notes, for one thing, that whereas for generations California’s Chinese-descended population has been reliably Democratic, new immigrants, scornful of their predecessors, are often volubly conservative. Chinese companies have made missteps in California, notably in Hollywood, and American firms have made missteps in China, as when eBay opened the door for the emergence of Jack Ma’s giant Alibaba firm and was forced to retreat from the Chinese market, “the first time a Chinese internet company had gone head-to-head with its American rival and won.” Though the relationship has lately been troubled, Sheehan foresees continued interactions and mutual influence in decades to come.

Timely reading in an era of looming trade wars and the decline of American economic supremacy.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64009-214-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

NIGHT

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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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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