In what can seem a universe within itself, Kerry Brown, author of The New Emperors, selects five essential reads on modern China.
Each year, a multitude of books inundates the literary landscape with a focus on China. The extensive array of publications, ranging from gender studies to pop culture, history, and politics, reflects the vastness of this subject matter. Even topics as specific as analyzing agricultural tax returns from a single year in the late Qing period have been explored. China has evolved into a self-contained realm, attracting a diverse array of authors delving into its complexities.
I’m just as culpable as anyone else. Over the past decade, following my departure from the British Foreign Office and transition into academia, I’ve authored ten books, edited three volumes, and compiled an extensive multi-volume dictionary on Chinese biography. My enthusiasm for delving into the inexhaustible and captivating realm of China remains undiminished. However, recognizing the constraints of time for some, I offer recommendations for five books that have personally enriched my understanding of China and informed my writing, particularly in my latest work, “The New Emperors: Power and the Princelings in China,” a recent study on contemporary Chinese leadership.