Everything you might want to know about the Chinese economic juggernaut, and then some, from a Dutch journalist who has covered the region for 25 years. China is now the third-largest economic power in the world. Foreign investment in the country has grown from $51 million in 1979 to a total of $200 billion in 1995, and its foreign trade from $20 billion to $281 billion over the same period. These figures are fairly well known, but the value of van Kemenade's book lies in the detail he supplies on how this growth has affected different regions of China. It lies, too, in the sensible things he has to say about the limitations on that growth: Its so-called ``socialist market economy,'' he notes, is still a ``fragile halfway house,'' and the prediction that the Chinese economy would exceed that of the US by the end of the century has now been discarded. In many other respects his emphases are unusual and refreshing. The author argues that both Hong Kong and Taiwan (in terms of both money and managerial skills) have made essential contributions to the metamorphosis of China from a predominantly state economy to economic pluralism, although he finds increasing divisions in Taipei over the wisdom of its growing economic involvement on the mainland. Indeed, he notes how skillfully the Chinese government has played upon the divisions between the Taiwanese government and its capitalists. And only the hard core of China's faithful in Hong Kong still pretend to believe that Hong Kong will have much autonomy after the transfer of power. More doubtful is his belief, so characteristic of observers of dictatorships before revolutions, that there is ``no mass demand'' for democracy, and that internal, more or less peaceful development is unlikely to bring it about. Nonetheless, one of the most thorough, comprehensive, and balanced assessments of the rise and likely evolution of a world- class economy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-45484-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1997

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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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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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