China Review International: Vol. 14, No. 2, Fall 2007 Susan L. Shirk. China: Fragile Superpower. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. 320 pp. Hardcover $27.00, Isbn 9780195306095. Describing Susan Shirk's magnificent study of Chinese foreign policy in the postMao era as far and away the best single-authored book on the topic in the last few years does a disservice to this politically informed, lucidly written, and powerfully argued analysis. It is in a class by itself. It is a breakthrough in the post-Mao era in understanding Chinese foreign policy in the same way that Donald Zagoria's study establishing the reality and significance of the Sino-Soviet rift opened new horizons and totally reshaped understanding of Chinese foreign policy in the Mao era. Jim Mann's study of Nixon's rapprochement with Mao should have had a similar impact but has not. Mann's new documents and interviews in About Face (New York: Knopf, 1999) called into question whether the Kissinger-Zhou deal had heedlessly betrayed Taiwan. Mann's point has received support from the careful scholarship of Harvard's Roderick MacFarquhar.1 Unfortunately, the main trend among analysts is not to comprehend Taiwan's plight but to demonize Taiwan. In contrast to virtually all other scholarship, which
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Nov 28, 2008
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