Books on China tend to cover the Communist period from 1949 until today. Now we have one that harks back to what the authors believe were the roots of the Chinese miracle: the reaction to the humiliation of the Opium War in 1842.
It’s a good idea, though the execution is another matter in Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the 21st Century. We soon see that Orville Schell, director of the Center on US-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York, and John Delury, an assistant professor of East Asian Studies in South Korea, have an agenda that not everyone will share.
The Confucian ideal of a harmonious agrarian life had its critics from the start. The so-called Legalists believed in wealth, power, and an authoritarian state. As the West thrust itself on the country, this more utilitarian tradition revived.
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