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10 Books to Understand Modern China

I've lived in China for almost nine years now, and I still understand so little about this amazing, mysterious country. Some of the books on this list I have read, but many I have not. As the West and Asia become ever more entangled in each others' affairs, I believe it is crucial to try and understand the other. The books in this list are a great starting point. Original list source: https://supchina.com/books-present/

China's Great Wall of Debt: Shadow Banks, Ghost Cities, Massive Loans and End of the Chinese Miracle

DINNY MCMAHON
Making China’s complex and shadowy debt-fueled economy engaging to the ordinary reader is no easy task, but Dinny McMahon, a veteran financial reporter, does just that. There are baijiu dealers, ambit...

In Line Behind a Billion People

DAMIEN MA, WILLIAMS ADAMS
Educators should put this excellent and highly readable book on their syllabi. Organizing their analysis of China’s economics, politics, society, and even culture around the theme of scarcity — of res...

Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China

LETA HONG-FINCHER
Written in the years leading up to the Feminist Five incident and the #MeToo movement, Leftover Women lays the groundwork in a clear and unflinching way for understanding the cataclysmic events that h...

AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order

KAI-FU LEE
As a venture capitalist who has invested heavily in China’s technology sector, Kai-Fu Lee is hardly an unbiased observer of artificial intelligence’s development on either side of the Pacific. But it ...

Little Soldiers: An American Boy, a Chinese School, and the Global Race to Achieve

LENORA CHU
Chinese American reporter and writer Lenora Chu and her husband, both based in Shanghai, made a bold decision for their young son: They enrolled him in one of the most competitive, high-performing sch...

The Dragon's Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa

DEBORAH BRAUTIGAM
The first major work to take on the question of China’s impact in Africa, Brautigam’s book tends to accentuate the positive, as its title suggests. She builds on the insight that China's infrastructur...

Nine continents

XIAOLU GUO
Xiaolu Guo writes of her childhood, growing up in miserable poverty in a fishing village in the 1970s before escaping to follow her dreams at Beijing Film Academy, then in England, and her experience ...

The Souls of China

IAN JOHNSON
The Souls of China brings the reader face-to-face with the practitioners of a variety of spiritual traditions in China, such as Buddhist temple pilgrimages and festivals on the outskirts of Beijing, D...

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China

EVAN OSNOS
Age of Ambition is itself an ambitious book, aiming to capture the essence of modern China through a diverse set of people that Evan Osnos met during his eight years in the country, where he was a wri...

The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers

RICHARD MCGREGOR
In The Party, McGregor draws from years of reporting and scholarly analysis to pierce through the red fog and shed light on the Chinese Communist Party, a deeply powerful yet often misunderstood organ...
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