The best books on Deng Xiaoping 📚

Browse the best books on Deng Xiaoping as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Mao's Last Revolution

Mao's Last Revolution

By Michael Schoenhals, Roderick Macfarquhar

Why this book?

This instant classic was the first to draw deeply on a wide range of previously inaccessible sources about the Cultural Revolution of 1966 to 1976. Highly readable and authoritative, it provides extensive insight into Mao’s actions and those of his subordinates and victims and documents the destructive impact of these conflicts all across China from the initial salvos at Peking University in May 1966 to the immediate aftermath of Mao’s death, which led to the arrest of Mao’s most ardent radical followers, the “Gang of Four”.

From the list:

The best books about China from the Mao years through Tiananmen

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Book cover of Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China

Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China

By Ezra F. Vogel

Why this book?

Deng Xiaoping is the most important person in contemporary Chinese affairs. It was under his time as the paramount leader of China that modernization started in earnest. He judged policy effectiveness on whether it worked or not. His story is engagingly told by historian Ezra Vogel.
From the list:

The best books about the Chinese Communist Party and Hong Kong

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Book cover of Mao's China and After: A History of the People's Republic

Mao's China and After: A History of the People's Republic

By Maurice Meisner

Why this book?

Generally speaking, there is a tendency both in China and the West to view the rise of China as the result of post-Mao reform. Mao is either perceived as a monster at worst or hopeless in economies at best. Deng Xiaoping takes the largest credit for China’s spectacular economic takeoff. Meisner is one of the first who presents a balanced view of China’s contemporary development, presenting convincing evidence to show that China’s industrialization and modernization started in the era of Mao.
From the list:

The best books to understand modern China

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Book cover of The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices

The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices

By Xinran

Why this book?

This collection of hidden testimonies of women in China, based on call-ins to a radio show in the 199Os, depicts what women think and feel about their world and their realities. We hear women speaking for the first time about forced marriages, poverty, persecution, love – and their triumphs. It is key to understanding the thoughts and feelings behind what we think we know.

From the list:

The best books about Asian women

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Book cover of The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State

The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State

By Elizabeth C. Economy

Why this book?

Those of us who study Chinese history know that the global dominance the West has enjoyed over the last couple of hundred years is a mere blip on the radar to scholars and leaders in China. That’s what makes China so fascinating to me and drives me to write so many novels set there and to teach Daoist arts like tai chi and qigong. China was long known as the Middle Kingdom because it really was the social, cultural, and military center of the world. This author, a well-known scholar, policy expert, and now member of President Biden’s “China Team”…

From the list:

The best books to better understand and appreciate China

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Book cover of A Village with My Name: A Family History of China's Opening to the World

A Village with My Name: A Family History of China's Opening to the World

By Scott Tong

Why this book?

Also formerly a public radio reporter based in Shanghai, Scott Tong takes us inside his own extended family, scattered across China. Personal stories of the relatives he found reveal not just their troubled histories but also the unvarnished stories of their varying ability to adapt to the opportunities of a modernizing China. Published in March 2019.

From the list:

The best books to understand China today

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