The most recommended books on Deng Xiaoping

Who picked these books? Meet our 6 experts.

6 authors created a book list connected to Deng Xiaoping, and here are their favorite Deng Xiaoping books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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

Mobo C.F. Gao Author Of Constructing China: Clashing Views of the People's Republic

From my list on understanding modern China.

Why am I passionate about this?

I currently teach Chinese studies at the Department of Asian Studies of the University of Adelaide. My publications include several books, and over a hundred book chapters/articles. My book Mandarin Chinese: An Introduction is a standard reference for learners of modern Chinese in English-speaking countries. Two of my books Gao Village: A Portrait of Modern Life in Rural China and Gao Village Revisited: Life of the Rural People in Contemporary China are case studies of Gao Village where I came from. Other books include the Battle of China's Past: Mao and the Cultural Revolution and Remembering Socialist China 1949 – 1976 which are reassessments of the Mao era and the Cultural Revolution. 

Mobo's book list on understanding modern China

Mobo C.F. Gao Why did Mobo love 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.

By Maurice Meisner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mao's China and After as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When MAO'S CHINA first appeared in 1977, it was hailed as the single most useful general volume on recent Chinese history, covering every important question of the time with clarity and amazing insight. Now, Meisner brings the third edition of his definitive work, with new information provided throughout the classic study. Including a whole new section in Part Six, 'Deng Xiaoping and the Origins of Chinese Capitalism: 1976-1998', Meisner assesses the country's uneasy relationship with democracy, socialism and capitalism. Retaining the elegance, lucidity and comprehensiveness he is known for, Meisner moves far beyond his previous work to paint a never-before-seen…

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

Dori Jones Yang Author Of When the Red Gates Opened: A Memoir of China's Reawakening

From my list on China today.

Why am I passionate about this?

A Seattle-based author, I have written eight books, including When the Red Gates Opened: A Memoir of China’s Reawakening, about the eight years I spent as Business Week’s reporter covering China, 1982-1990. In it, I give readers an inside look at China’s transformation from Maoism to modernity. A fluent speaker of Mandarin, I have traveled widely in China for over forty years and befriended Chinese people at many levels of society, leading me to a strong belief in the importance of direct cross-cultural communication and deepened mutual understanding.

Dori's book list on China today

Dori Jones Yang Why did Dori love 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.

By Scott Tong,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Village with My Name as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When journalist Scott Tong moved to Shanghai, his assignment was to start the first full-time China bureau for "Marketplace," the daily business and economics program on public radio stations across the United States. But for Tong the move became much more--it offered the opportunity to reconnect with members of his extended family who had remained in China after his parents fled the communists six decades prior. By uncovering the stories of his family's history, Tong discovered a new way to understand the defining moments of modern China and its long, interrupted quest to go global.

A Village with My Name…

Book cover of Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China

Christine Loh Author Of No Third Person: Rewriting the Hong Kong Story

From my list on the Chinese Communist Party and Hong Kong.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am East-and-West. Born in British Hong Kong, studied in England, and worked for a US multinational in Beijing, I had a range of experiences that traversed Chinese and western cultures. Sucked into politics in Hong Kong prior to and post-1997, I had a ringside seat to colonial Hong Kong becoming a part of China. I too went from being a British citizen to a Chinese national. Along the way, I got interested in the environment and was appointed a minister in Hong Kong in 2012. I have always read a lot about the world and how things work or don’t work. I hope you like what I have enjoyed!

Christine's book list on the Chinese Communist Party and Hong Kong

Christine Loh Why did Christine love 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.

By Ezra F. Vogel,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Lionel Gelber Prize
National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

An Economist Best Book of the Year | A Financial Times Book of the Year | A Wall Street Journal Book of the Year | A Washington Post Book of the Year | A Bloomberg News Book of the Year | An Esquire China Book of the Year | A Gates Notes Top Read of the Year

Perhaps no one in the twentieth century had a greater long-term impact on world history than Deng Xiaoping. And no scholar of contemporary East Asian history and culture is better qualified…

Book cover of The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices

Sheridan Prasso Author Of The Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls, & Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient

From my list on Asian women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have specialized in writing about Asia since first moving to Hong Kong as a journalist in 1989, and spent the past three decades trying to improve understandings between East and West. My Asian women friends repeatedly asked me why Western men expected them to pour their drinks and serve them food. I answered “because that’s what they saw in the movies.” The James Bond films perpetuating these images of servile Asian women scrubbing white mens’ backs in the bathtub were pervasive when they were growing up. I decided to uncover and explain where this history of imagery and the stereotypes they result in come from – and, as someone with an anthropological background, also explain cultural practices that foster misunderstandings. 

Sheridan's book list on Asian women

Sheridan Prasso Why did Sheridan love 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.

By Xinran,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Good Women of China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For eight groundbreaking years, Xinran presented a radio programme in China during which she invited women to call in and talk about themselves. Broadcast every evening, Words on the Night Breeze became famous through the country for its unflinching portrayal of what it meant to be a woman in modern China. Centuries of obedience to their fathers, husbands and sons, followed by years of political turmoil had made women terrified of talking openly about their feelings. Xinran won their trust and, through her compassion and ability to listen, became the first woman to hear their true stories.

This unforgettable book…

Book cover of Mao's Last Revolution

Andrew G. Walder Author Of China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed

From my list on China from Mao through Tiananmen.

Why am I passionate about this?

I took my first course about Chinese politics in 1973, when the country was still in the tumultuous last years of the Mao era. In a teaching career that began in 1982, I have spent long periods of research and teaching in China and Hong Kong. China’s shifting course has been a constant source of fascination, encouragement, and at times dismay. It is hard to imagine that the impoverished and unstable country of the 1970s would rise to become such a major economic power, one that despite its impressive expansion still faces intractable barriers to its future advancement.

Andrew's book list on China from Mao through Tiananmen

Andrew G. Walder Why did Andrew love 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”.

By Michael Schoenhals, Roderick Macfarquhar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mao's Last Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Cultural Revolution was a watershed event in the history of the People's Republic of China, the defining decade of half a century of communist rule. Before 1966, China was a typical communist state, with a command economy and a powerful party able to keep the population under control. But during the Cultural Revolution, in a move unprecedented in any communist country, Mao unleashed the Red Guards against the party. Tens of thousands of officials were humiliated, tortured, and even killed. Order had to be restored by the military, whose methods were often equally brutal.

In a masterly book, Roderick…