Author(s): WESTAD ODD ARNE
"Restless Empire" examines the past 250 years of Chinese history - in particular China's foreign relations - to consider the issues and preoccupations that have haunted the Chinese agenda over the course of two and half centuries. Tracing the nation's history from the Qing Dynasty in the eighteenth century to the People's Republic in the twenty-first, Westad shows how China's world view has been determined by both its receptiveness and its resistance to outside influence. China's economic output has increased rapidly over the past thirty years, and most people believe that within two decades China will have overtaken the United States to become the world's largest economy. The Chinese Academy of Sciences proclaims that by that time the country will have eradicated poverty among its population of more than 1.5 billion and increased the average lifespan to 80 years, while establishing itself as the world's technological powerhouse. Meanwhile, some - especially its neighbours - fear that China will strengthen its military might in order to bend others to its will. Westad shows, however, that a new form of Chinese nationalism is rising.
Many Chinese are angry about the past injustices they feel they have endured and afraid that the country is losing its identity and mission to commercialisation and foreign influences. Will China's attraction to world society dwindle, or will China continue to engage with other global powers? Will it attempt to recreate a Sino-centric international order in East Asia, or pursue a more harmonious diplomatic route? And can it overcome its lack of democracy and transparency, or are these qualities hard-wired into the Chinese system? Whatever the case, one thing is certain: we ignore Chinese history at our peril. "Restless Empire" is the book for anyone who wants to understand China's past, present, and future relations with the rest of the world.
A prizewinning historian and expert on Chinese foreign relations examines China's relationship with the outside world over the last 250 years, showing how the past will set the course for China's future.
Written by one of the most distinguished scholars on China, this book brings clarity and insight into complex historical issues. -- Jung Chang Thorough, fast-moving, and consistently clear. Restless Empire gives an excellent introduction to the vagaries of China's foreign relations over the last 250 years. -- Jonathan Spence, Author Of The Search For Modern China An authoritative and lucid history of China's foreign relations from the peak of the Qing dynasty in the eighteenth century to the present day. Anyone seeking to understand the role China may play in our future world should start with this book. -- Stephen R. Platt, Author Of Autumn In The Heavenly Kingdom An essential guide to modern China's often violent encounter with the rest of the world. -- Frank Dikotter, Author Of Mao's Great Famine
Odd Arne Westad is one of the world's foremost experts on both the Cold War and contemporary East Asian history, having won the Bancroft Prize, the Michael Harrington Award, and the Akira Iriye International History Book Award for his seminal book The Global Cold War. A Professor of International History at the London School of Economics, he is also co-director of LSE IDEAS, a centre for the study of international affairs, diplomacy and grand strategy.