Top Asian History Ebooks

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Escape from Camp 14 - Blaine Harden Cover Art

Escape from Camp 14

Escape from Camp 14 One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden

With a New Foreword The heartwrenching New York Times bestseller about the only known person born inside a North Korean prison camp to have escaped. Blaine Harden's latest book, King of Spies , will be available from Viking in Fall 2017. North Korea’s political prison camps have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. No one born and raised in these camps is known to have escaped. No one, that is, except Shin Dong-hyuk. In Escape From Camp 14 , Blaine Harden unlocks the secrets of the world’s most repressive totalitarian state through the story of Shin’s shocking imprisonment and his astounding getaway. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence—he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his mother and brother. The late “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il was recognized throughout the world, but his country remains sealed as his third son and chosen heir, Kim Jong Eun, consolidates power. Few foreigners are allowed in, and few North Koreans are able to leave. North Korea is hungry, bankrupt, and armed with nuclear weapons. It is also a human rights catastrophe. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people work as slaves in its political prison camps. These camps are clearly visible in satellite photographs, yet North Korea’s government denies they exist. Harden’s harrowing narrative exposes this hidden dystopia, focusing on an extraordinary young man who came of age inside the highest security prison in the highest security state. Escape from Camp 14 offers an unequalled inside account of one of the world’s darkest nations. It is a tale of endurance and courage, survival and hope.

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Implacable Foes - Waldo Heinrichs & Marc Gallicchio Cover Art

Implacable Foes

Implacable Foes War in the Pacific, 1944-1945 by Waldo Heinrichs & Marc Gallicchio

On May 8, 1945, Victory in Europe Day-shortened to "V.E. Day"-brought with it the demise of Nazi Germany. But for the Allies, the war was only half-won. Exhausted but exuberant American soldiers, ready to return home, were sent to join the fighting in the Pacific, which by the spring and summer of 1945 had turned into a gruelling campaign of bloody attrition against an enemy determined to fight to the last man. Germany had surrendered unconditionally. The Japanese would clearly make the conditions of victory extraordinarily high. In the United States, Americans clamored for their troops to come home and for a return to a peacetime economy. Politics intruded upon military policy while a new and untested president struggled to strategize among a military command that was often mired in rivalry. The task of defeating the Japanese seemed nearly unsurmountable, even while plans to invade the home islands were being drawn. Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall warned of the toll that "the agony of enduring battle" would likely take. General Douglas MacArthur clashed with Marshall and Admiral Nimitz over the most effective way to defeat the increasingly resilient Japanese combatants. In the midst of this division, the Army began a program of partial demobilization of troops in Europe, which depleted units at a time when they most needed experienced soldiers. In this context of military emergency, the fearsome projections of the human cost of invading the Japanese homeland, and weakening social and political will, victory was salvaged by means of a horrific new weapon. As one Army staff officer admitted, "The capitulation of Hirohito saved our necks." In Implacable Foes, award-winning historians Waldo Heinrichs (a veteran of both theatres of war in World War II) and Marc Gallicchio bring to life the final year of World War Two in the Pacific right up to the dropping of the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, evoking not only Japanese policies of desperate defense, but the sometimes rancorous debates on the home front. They deliver a gripping and provocative narrative that challenges the decision-making of U.S. leaders and delineates the consequences of prioritizing the European front. The result is a masterly work of military history that evaluates the nearly insurmountable trials associated with waging global war and the sacrifices necessary to succeed.

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Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin Cover Art

Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin

The astonishing, uplifting story of a real-life Indiana Jones and his humanitarian campaign to use education to combat terrorism in the Taliban’s backyard Anyone who despairs of the individual’s power to change lives has to read the story of Greg Mortenson, a homeless mountaineer who, following a 1993 climb of Pakistan’s treacherous K2, was inspired by a chance encounter with impoverished mountain villagers and promised to build them a school. Over the next decade he built fifty-five schools—especially for girls—that offer a balanced education in one of the most isolated and dangerous regions on earth. As it chronicles Mortenson’s quest, which has brought him into conflict with both enraged Islamists and uncomprehending Americans, Three Cups of Tea combines adventure with a celebration of the humanitarian spirit. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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On China - Henry Kissinger Cover Art

On China

On China by Henry Kissinger

"Fascinating, shrewd . . . The book deftly traces the rhythms and patterns of Chinese history." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times In this sweeping and insightful history, Henry Kissinger turns for the first time at book length to a country he has known intimately for decades and whose modern relations with the West he helped shape. On China illuminates the inner workings of Chinese diplomacy during such pivotal events as the initial encounters between China and tight line modern European powers, the formation and breakdown of the Sino-Soviet alliance, the Korean War, and Richard Nixon’s historic trip to Beijing. With a new final chapter on the emerging superpower’s twenty-first-century role in global politics and economics, On China provides historical perspective on Chinese foreign affairs from one of the premier statesmen of our time.

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Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World - Jack Weatherford Cover Art

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford

The name Genghis Khan often conjures the image of a relentless, bloodthirsty barbarian on horseback leading a ruthless band of nomadic warriors in the looting of the civilized world. But the surprising truth is that Genghis Khan was a visionary leader whose conquests joined backward Europe with the flourishing cultures of Asia to trigger a global awakening, an unprecedented explosion of technologies, trade, and ideas. In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World , Jack Weatherford, the only Western scholar ever to be allowed into the Mongols’ “Great Taboo”—Genghis Khan’s homeland and forbidden burial site—tracks the astonishing story of Genghis Khan and his descendants, and their conquest and transformation of the world. Fighting his way to power on the remote steppes of Mongolia, Genghis Khan developed revolutionary military strategies and weaponry that emphasized rapid attack and siege warfare, which he then brilliantly used to overwhelm opposing armies in Asia, break the back of the Islamic world, and render the armored knights of Europe obsolete. Under Genghis Khan, the Mongol army never numbered more than 100,000 warriors, yet it subjugated more lands and people in twenty-five years than the Romans conquered in four hundred. With an empire that stretched from Siberia to India, from Vietnam to Hungary, and from Korea to the Balkans, the Mongols dramatically redrew the map of the globe, connecting disparate kingdoms into a new world order. But contrary to popular wisdom, Weatherford reveals that the Mongols were not just masters of conquest, but possessed a genius for progressive and benevolent rule. On every level and from any perspective, the scale and scope of Genghis Khan’s accomplishments challenge the limits of imagination. Genghis Khan was an innovative leader, the first ruler in many conquered countries to put the power of law above his own power, encourage religious freedom, create public schools, grant diplomatic immunity, abolish torture, and institute free trade. The trade routes he created became lucrative pathways for commerce, but also for ideas, technologies, and expertise that transformed the way people lived. The Mongols introduced the first international paper currency and postal system and developed and spread revolutionary technologies like printing, the cannon, compass, and abacus. They took local foods and products like lemons, carrots, noodles, tea, rugs, playing cards, and pants and turned them into staples of life around the world. The Mongols were the architects of a new way of life at a pivotal time in history. In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World , Jack Weatherford resurrects the true history of Genghis Khan, from the story of his relentless rise through Mongol tribal culture to the waging of his devastatingly successful wars and the explosion of civilization that the Mongol Empire unleashed. This dazzling work of revisionist history doesn’t just paint an unprecedented portrait of a great leader and his legacy, but challenges us to reconsider how the modern world was made. From the Hardcover edition.

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Without You, There Is No Us - Suki Kim Cover Art

Without You, There Is No Us

Without You, There Is No Us My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite by Suki Kim

A haunting memoir of teaching English to the sons of North Korea's ruling class during the last six months of Kim Jong-il's reign   Every day, three times a day, the students march in two straight lines, singing praises to Kim Jong-il and North Korea: Without you, there is no motherland. Without you, there is no us. It is a chilling scene, but gradually Suki Kim, too, learns the tune and, without noticing, begins to hum it. It is 2011, and all universities in North Korea have been shut down for an entire year, the students sent to construction fields—except for the 270 students at the all-male Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), a walled compound where portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il look on impassively from the walls of every room, and where Suki has accepted a job teaching English. Over the next six months, she will eat three meals a day with her young charges and struggle to teach them to write, all under the watchful eye of the regime. Life at PUST is lonely and claustrophobic, especially for Suki, whose letters are read by censors and who must hide her notes and photographs not only from her minders but from her colleagues—evangelical Christian missionaries who don't know or choose to ignore that Suki doesn't share their faith. As the weeks pass, she is mystified by how easily her students lie, unnerved by their obedience to the regime. At the same time, they offer Suki tantalizing glimpses of their private selves—their boyish enthusiasm, their eagerness to please, the flashes of curiosity that have not yet been extinguished. She in turn begins to hint at the existence of a world beyond their own—at such exotic activities as surfing the Internet or traveling freely and, more dangerously, at electoral democracy and other ideas forbidden in a country where defectors risk torture and execution. But when Kim Jong-il dies, and the boys she has come to love appear devastated, she wonders whether the gulf between her world and theirs can ever be bridged. Without You, There Is No Us offers a moving and incalculably rare glimpse of life in the world's most unknowable country, and at the privileged young men she calls "soldiers and slaves." From the Hardcover edition.

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Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China - Evan Osnos Cover Art

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

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

Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction finalist Winner of the 2014 National Book Award in nonfiction. An Economist Best Book of 2014. A vibrant, colorful, and revelatory inner history of China during a moment of profound transformation From abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy-or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don't see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes. As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker , Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition , he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party's struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals-fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture-consider themselves "angry youth," dedicated to resisting the West's influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth? Writing with great narrative verve and a keen sense of irony, Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail.

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The Party - Richard McGregor Cover Art

The Party

The Party The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers by Richard McGregor

“Few outsiders have any realistic sense of the innards, motives, rivalries, and fears of the Chinese Communist leadership. But we all know much more than before, thanks to Richard McGregor’s illuminating and richly-textured look at the people in charge of China’s political machinery.... Invaluable.” — James Fallows, National Correspondent for The Atlantic The Party is Financial Times reporter Richard McGregor’s eye-opening investigation into China’s Communist Party, and the integral role it has played in the country’s rise as a global superpower and rival to the United States. Many books have examined China’s economic rise, human rights record, turbulent history, and relations with the U.S.; none until now, however, have tackled the issue central to understanding all of these issues: how the ruling communist government works. The Party delves deeply into China’s secretive political machine.

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Empress Dowager Cixi - Jung Chang Cover Art

Empress Dowager Cixi

Empress Dowager Cixi by Jung Chang

A New York Times Notable Book Empress Dowager Cixi (1835–1908) is the most important woman in Chinese history. She ruled China for decades and brought a medieval empire into the modern age. At the age of sixteen, in a nationwide selection for royal consorts, Cixi was chosen as one of the emperor’s numerous concubines. When he died in 1861, their five-year-old son succeeded to the throne. Cixi at once launched a palace coup against the regents appointed by her husband and made herself the real ruler of China—behind the throne, literally, with a silk screen separating her from her officials who were all male. In this groundbreaking biography, Jung Chang vividly describes how Cixi fought against monumental obstacles to change China. Under her the ancient country attained virtually all the attributes of a modern state: industries, railways, electricity, the telegraph and an army and navy with up-to-date weaponry. It was she who abolished gruesome punishments like “death by a thousand cuts” and put an end to foot-binding. She inaugurated women’s liberation and embarked on the path to introduce parliamentary elections to China. Chang comprehensively overturns the conventional view of Cixi as a diehard conservative and cruel despot. Cixi reigned during extraordinary times and had to deal with a host of major national crises: the Taiping and Boxer rebellions, wars with France and Japan—and an invasion by eight allied powers including Britain, Germany, Russia and the United States. Jung Chang not only records the Empress Dowager’s conduct of domestic and foreign affairs, but also takes the reader into the depths of her splendid Summer Palace and the harem of Beijing’s Forbidden City, where she lived surrounded by eunuchs—one of whom she fell in love, with tragic consequences. The world Chang describes here, in fascinating detail, seems almost unbelievable in its extraordinary mixture of the very old and the very new. Based on newly available, mostly Chinese, historical documents such as court records, official and private correspondence, diaries and eyewitness accounts, this biography will revolutionize historical thinking about a crucial period in China’s—and the world’s—history. Packed with drama, fast paced and gripping, it is both a panoramic depiction of the birth of modern China and an intimate portrait of a woman: as the concubine to a monarch, as the absolute ruler of a third of the world’s population, and as a unique stateswoman. From the Hardcover edition.

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China - John Keay Cover Art

China

China A History by John Keay

Three thousand years of Chinese history in an accessible and authoritative single volume. Despite the recent rise of China to a position of dominance on the world economic stage, Chinese history remains an elusive subject. Yet it is this vast narrative of appalling loss, superhuman endeavour and incredible invention that has made China the superpower it is today. From the dawn of legend to the succession of great dynasties, from Confucius to Chairman Mao and from the clamour of revolution to the lure of slick capitalism, John Keay takes the reader on a sweeping tour through Chinese history. This is a definitive and indispensable account of a country set to play a major part in our future. Reviews ‘There is no understanding China, present or future, without a sense of its past…Anybody fascinated by the puzzle of what comes next for our frail, perplexed planet will find unexpected answers in this crisp, often witty chronicle of amazements.’ Peter Preston, Observer 'Dynasties lead to world domination: John Keay's forensic analysis of China's history makes the world of the ancient emperors strikingly modern and relevant.' Observer ‘As John Keay’s ambitious new book makes clear…China’s history is intoxicatingly interesting and is sure to keep us on the edge of our geopolitical seats.’ Independent on Sunday ‘Absorbingly readable.’ Independent ‘An epic history of China…There’s no way of understanding China’s stirring future without a sense of its awe-inspiring past.’ Traveller magazine About the author John Keay’s books include ‘India Discovered’, ‘The Honourable Company’, ‘Last Post: The End of Empire in the Far East’, the two-volume ‘Explorers of the Western Himalayas’, ‘India: A History’, ‘The Great Arc’, ‘Sowing the Wind: The Seeds of Conflict in the Middle East’ and ‘Mad About the Mekong: Exploration and Empire in South East Asia’. He is married with four children, lives in Scotland, and is the co-author, with Julia Keay, of the ‘Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland’.

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The Impossible State - Victor Cha Cover Art

The Impossible State

The Impossible State North Korea, Past and Future by Victor Cha

Former White House official Victor Cha has written the definitive volume on North Korea, arguably the world’s most menacing and mysterious nation. In The Impossible State, Cha, a singular expert on the region, exposes North Korea’s veiled past; sheds light on its culture, economy, and foreign policy; and explores the possibilities of its uncertain future in the post-Kim Jong-il era. A timely and engaging insider’s look at a volatile, and isolationist Asian juggernaut, The Impossible State will carry readers far deeper into this frighteningly adversarial country than they’ve ever traveled before.

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When China Rules the World - Martin Jacques Cover Art

When China Rules the World

When China Rules the World The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order: Second Edition by Martin Jacques

How China's ascendance as an economic superpower will alter the cultural, political, social, and ethnic balance of global power in the twenty-first century, unseating the West and in the process creating a whole new world According to even the most conservative estimates, China will overtake the United States as the world's largest economy by 2027 and will ascend to the position of world economic leader by 2050. But the full repercussions of China's ascendancy-for itself and the rest of the globe-have been surprisingly little explained or understood. In this far-reaching and original investigation, Martin Jacques offers provocative answers to some of the most pressing questions about China's growing place on the world stage. Martin Jacques reveals, by elaborating on three historical truths, how China will seek to shape the world in its own image. The Chinese have a rich and long history as a civilization-state. Under the tributary system, outlying states paid tribute to the Middle Kingdom. Ninety-four percent of the population still believes they are one race-"Han Chinese." The strong sense of superiority rooted in China's history promises to resurface in twenty-first century China and in the process strengthen and further unify the country. A culturally self-confident Asian giant with a billion-plus population, China will likely resist globalization as we know it. This exceptionalism will have powerful ramifications for the rest of the world and the United States in particular. As China is already emerging as the new center of the East Asian economy, the mantle of economic and, therefore, cultural relevance will in our lifetimes begin to pass from Manhattan and Paris to cities like Beijing and Shanghai. It is the American relationship with and attitude toward China, Jacques argues, that will determine whether the twenty-first century will be relatively peaceful or fraught with tension, instability, and danger. When China Rules the World is the first book to fully conceive of and explain the upheaval that China's ascendance will cause and the realigned global power structure it will create.

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The China Mirage - James Bradley Cover Art

The China Mirage

The China Mirage The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia by James Bradley

"Bradley is sharp and rueful, and a voice for a more seasoned, constructive vision of our international relations with East Asia." -- Christian Science Monitor James Bradley introduces us to the prominent Americans--including FDR's grandfather, Warren Delano--who in the 1800s made their fortunes in the China opium trade. Meanwhile, American missionaries sought a myth: noble Chinese peasants eager to Westernize. The media propagated this mirage, and FDR believed that supporting Chiang Kai-shek would make China America's best friend in Asia. But Chiang was on his way out and when Mao Zedong instead came to power, Americans were shocked, wondering how we had "lost China." From the 1850s to the origins of the Vietnam War, Bradley reveals how American misconceptions about China have distorted our policies and led to the avoidable deaths of millions. The China Mirage dynamically explores the troubled history that still defines U.S.-Chinese relations today.

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The Secret History of the Mongol Queens - Jack Weatherford Cover Art

The Secret History of the Mongol Queens

The Secret History of the Mongol Queens How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire by Jack Weatherford

The Mongol queens of the thirteenth century ruled the largest empire the world has ever known. Yet sometime near the end of the century, censors cut their story from The Secret History of the Mongols, leaving only a hint of a father’s legacy for his daughters. The queens of the Silk Route turned their father’s conquests into the world’s first truly international empire, fostering trade, education, and religion throughout their territories and creating an economic system that stretched from the Pacific to the Mediterranean. Outlandish stories of these powerful queens trickled out of the Empire, shocking the citizens of Europe and and the Islamic world. After Genghis Khan’s death in 1227, conflicts erupted between his daughters and his daughters-in-law; what began as a war between powerful women soon became a war against women in power as brother turned against sister and son against mother. At the end of this epic struggle, the dynasty of the Mongol queens had seemingly been extinguished forever, as even their names were erased from the historical record.             Two centuries later, one of the most unusual and important warrior queens of history--Queen Mandhuhai--arose to avenge the wrongs, rescue the tattered shreds of the Mongol Empire, and restore order to a shattered world. She led her soldiers through victory after victory. In her thirties she married a seventeen-year-old prince, and she bore eight children in the midst of a career spent fighting the Ming Dynasty of China on one side and a series of Muslim warlords on the other. Her unprecedented success on the battlefield provoked the Chinese into the most frantic and expensive phase of wall building in history. Charging into battle even while pregnant, she fought to reassemble the Mongol Nation of Genghis Khan and to preserve it for her own children to rule in peace. Despite their mystery and the efforts to erase them from our collective memory, the deeds of these Mongol queens inspired great artists from Chaucer and Milton to Goethe and Puccini. And so their stories live on today. With The Secret History of the Mongol Queens , Jack Weatherford restores the queens’ missing chapter to the annals of history. From the Hardcover edition.

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China in Ten Words - Yu Hua & Allan H. Barr Cover Art

China in Ten Words

China in Ten Words by Yu Hua & Allan H. Barr

From one of China’s most acclaimed writers, his first work of nonfiction to appear in English: a unique, intimate look at the Chinese experience over the last several decades, told through personal stories and astute analysis that sharply illuminate the country’s meteoric economic and social transformation.   Framed by ten phrases common in the Chinese vernacular—“people,” “leader,” “reading,” “writing,” “Lu Xun” (one of the most influential Chinese writers of the twentieth century), “disparity,” “revolution,” “grassroots,” “copycat,” and “bamboozle”— China in Ten Words reveals as never before the world’s most populous yet oft-misunderstood nation. In “Disparity,” for example, Yu Hua illustrates the mind-boggling economic gaps that separate citizens of the country. In “Copycat,” he depicts the escalating trend of piracy and imitation as a creative new form of revolutionary action. And in “Bamboozle,” he describes the increasingly brazen practices of trickery, fraud, and chicanery that are, he suggests, becoming a way of life at every level of society.   Characterized by Yu Hua’s trademark wit, insight, and courage, China in Ten Words is a refreshingly candid vision of the “Chinese miracle” and all its consequences, from the singularly invaluable perspective of a writer living in China today. From the Hardcover edition.

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A Kim Jong-Il Production - Paul Fischer Cover Art

A Kim Jong-Il Production

A Kim Jong-Il Production The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power by Paul Fischer

Before becoming the world’s most notorious dictator, Kim Jong-Il ran North Korea’s Ministry for Propaganda and its film studios. Conceiving every movie made, he acted as producer and screenwriter. Despite this control, he was underwhelmed by the available talent and took drastic steps, ordering the kidnapping of Choi Eun-Hee (Madam Choi)—South Korea’s most famous actress—and her ex-husband Shin Sang-Ok, the country’s most famous filmmaker.Madam Choi vanished first. When Shin went to Hong Kong to investigate, he was attacked and woke up wrapped in plastic sheeting aboard a ship bound for North Korea. Madam Choi lived in isolated luxury, allowed only to attend the Dear Leader’s dinner parties. Shin, meanwhile, tried to escape, was sent to prison camp, and "re-educated." After four years he cracked, pledging loyalty. Reunited with Choi at the first party he attends, it is announced that the couple will remarry and act as the Dear Leader’s film advisors. Together they made seven films, in the process gaining Kim Jong-Il’s trust. While pretending to research a film in Vienna, they flee to the U.S. embassy and are swept to safety.A nonfiction thriller packed with tension, passion, and politics, author Paul Fischer's  A Kim Jong-Il Production offers a rare glimpse into a secretive world, illuminating a fascinating chapter of North Korea’s history that helps explain how it became the hermetically sealed, intensely stage-managed country it remains today.

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The Aquariums of Pyongyang - Chol-hwan Kang & Pierre Rigoulot Cover Art

The Aquariums of Pyongyang

The Aquariums of Pyongyang Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag by Chol-hwan Kang & Pierre Rigoulot

North Korea is today one of the last bastions of hard-line Communism. Its leaders have kept a tight grasp on their one-party regime, quashing any nascent opposition movements and sending all suspected dissidents to its brutal concentration camps for "re-education." Kang Chol-hwan is the first survivor of one of these camps to escape and tell his story to the world, documenting the extreme conditions in these gulags and providing a personal insight into life in North Korea. Part horror story, part historical document, part memoir, part political tract, this record of one man's suffering gives eyewitness proof to an ongoing sorrowful chapter of modern history. New edition with a new preface by the author.

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Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back - Janice P. Nimura Cover Art

Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back

Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back by Janice P. Nimura

“Nimura paints history in cinematic strokes and brings a forgotten story to vivid, unforgettable life.”—Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha In 1871, five young girls were sent by the Japanese government to the United States. Their mission: learn Western ways and return to help nurture a new generation of enlightened men to lead Japan. Raised in traditional samurai households during the turmoil of civil war, three of these unusual ambassadors—Sutematsu Yamakawa, Shige Nagai, and Ume Tsuda—grew up as typical American schoolgirls. Upon their arrival in San Francisco they became celebrities, their travels and traditional clothing exclaimed over by newspapers across the nation. As they learned English and Western customs, their American friends grew to love them for their high spirits and intellectual brilliance. The passionate relationships they formed reveal an intimate world of cross-cultural fascination and connection. Ten years later, they returned to Japan—a land grown foreign to them—determined to revolutionize women’s education. Based on in-depth archival research in Japan and in the United States, including decades of letters from between the three women and their American host families, Daughters of the Samurai is beautifully, cinematically written, a fascinating lens through which to view an extraordinary historical moment.

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Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader - Bradley K. Martin Cover Art

Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader

Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader North Korea and the Kim Dynasty by Bradley K. Martin

Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader offers in-depth portraits of North Korea's two ruthless and bizarrely Orwellian leaders, Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il. Lifting North Korea's curtain of self-imposed isolation, this book will take readers inside a society, that to a Westerner, will appear to be from another planet. Subsisting on a diet short on food grains and long on lies, North Koreans have been indoctrinated from birth to follow unquestioningly a father-son team of megalomaniacs. To North Koreans, the Kims are more than just leaders. Kim Il-Sung is the country's leading novelist, philosopher, historian, educator, designer, literary critic, architect, general, farmer, and ping-pong trainer. Radios are made so they can only be tuned to the official state frequency. "Newspapers" are filled with endless columns of Kim speeches and propaganda. And instead of Christmas, North Koreans celebrate Kim's birthday--and he presents each child a present, just like Santa. The regime that the Kim Dynasty has built remains technically at war with the United States nearly a half century after the armistice that halted actual fighting in the Korean War. This fascinating and complete history takes full advantage of a great deal of source material that has only recently become available (some from archives in Moscow and Beijing), and brings the reader up to the tensions of the current day. For as this book will explain, North Korea appears more and more to be the greatest threat among the Axis of Evil countries--with some defector testimony warning that Kim Jong-Il has enough chemical weapons to wipe out the entire population of South Korea.

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The Way of the Samurai - Miyamoto Musashi, Yamamoto Tsunetomo & Inazo Nitobe Cover Art

The Way of the Samurai

The Way of the Samurai The Book of Five Rings, The Hagakure, Bushido: The Soul of Japan by Miyamoto Musashi, Yamamoto Tsunetomo & Inazo Nitobe

Presented here in one volume are three of the seminal texts relating to the Japanese 'Way of the Samurai', essential reading for anyone interested in the Samurai culture of Japan. 'Go Rin No Sho', or 'The Book of Five Rings' is a famous text written by the swordsman Miyamoto Musashi in 1645, concerning Martial Arts, in particular Kenjitsu and the art of Zen. Miyamoto Musashi uses language that is as sharp and decisive as his sword - delivering in unfaltering steps the most direct path towards the objective - to cut down your opponent and emerge unscathed and victorious. 'Hagakure' provides a peerless view into the mindset and morality of the Japanese Samurai. Written by the Samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo in the early 18th Century, the text illustrates the concept of 'Bushido'. 'Bushido' translates literally as 'the way of the warrior', and is the Japanese word used to describe the ancient code of the Samurai. It is a complex and chivalric code of behavior that prizes loyalty and honor above all, but also champions the qualities of dedication, frugality, and mastery of martial arts. Fundamental to 'the Way of the Warrior', is the concept of a 'good death'.   Tsunetomo urges his Samurai readers to assume themselves already dead, to completely remove the fear of death, giving them the freedom to act rapidly and decisively, regardless of whether the actions might result in their own demise. The three books in this volume have been beautifully arranged with color images and an interactive table of contents for ease of navigation.

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The Cleanest Race - B.R. Myers Cover Art

The Cleanest Race

The Cleanest Race How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters by B.R. Myers

Understanding North Korea through its propaganda What do the North Koreans really believe? How do they see themselves and the world around them? Here B.R. Myers, a North Korea analyst and a contributing editor of The Atlantic , presents the first full-length study of the North Korean worldview. Drawing on extensive research into the regime’s domestic propaganda, including films, romance novels and other artifacts of the personality cult, Myers analyzes each of the country’s official myths in turn—from the notion of Koreans’ unique moral purity, to the myth of an America quaking in terror of “the Iron General.” In a concise but groundbreaking historical section, Myers also traces the origins of this official culture back to the Japanese fascist thought in which North Korea’s first ideologues were schooled. What emerges is a regime completely unlike the West’s perception of it. This is neither a bastion of Stalinism nor a Confucian patriarchy, but a paranoid nationalist, “military-first” state on the far right of the ideological spectrum. Since popular support for the North Korean regime now derives almost exclusively from pride in North Korean military might, Pyongyang can neither be cajoled nor bullied into giving up its nuclear program. The implications for US foreign policy—which has hitherto treated North Korea as the last outpost of the Cold War—are as obvious as they are troubling. With North Korea now calling for a “blood reckoning” with the “Yankee jackals,” Myers’s unprecedented analysis could not be more timely. From the Hardcover edition.

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Wealth and Power - Orville Schell & John Delury Cover Art

Wealth and Power

Wealth and Power China's Long March to the Twenty-first Century by Orville Schell & John Delury

Through a series of lively and absorbing portraits of iconic modern Chinese leaders and thinkers, two of today’s foremost specialists on China provide a panoramic narrative of this country’s rise to preeminence that is at once analytical and personal. How did a nation, after a long and painful period of dynastic decline, intellectual upheaval, foreign occupation, civil war, and revolution, manage to burst forth onto the world stage with such an impressive run of hyperdevelopment and wealth creation—culminating in the extraordinary dynamism of China today?   Wealth and Power answers this question by examining the lives of eleven influential officials, writers, activists, and leaders whose contributions helped create modern China. This fascinating survey begins in the lead-up to the first Opium War with Wei Yuan, the nineteenth-century scholar and reformer who was one of the first to urge China to borrow ideas from the West. It concludes in our time with human-rights advocate and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, an outspoken opponent of single-party rule. Along the way, we meet such titans of Chinese history as the Empress Dowager Cixi, public intellectuals Feng Guifen, Liang Qichao, and Chen Duxiu, Nationalist stalwarts Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek, and Communist Party leaders Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Zhu Rongji.   The common goal that unites all of these disparate figures is their determined pursuit of fuqiang,  “wealth and power.” This abiding quest for a restoration of national greatness in the face of a “century of humiliation” at the hands of the Great Powers came to define the modern Chinese character. It’s what drove both Mao and Deng to embark on root-and-branch transformations of Chinese society, first by means of Marxism-Leninism, then by authoritarian capitalism. And this determined quest remains the key to understanding many of China’s actions today.   By unwrapping the intellectual antecedents of today’s resurgent China, Orville Schell and John Delury supply much-needed insight into the country’s tortured progression from nineteenth-century decline to twenty-first-century boom. By looking backward into the past to understand forces at work for hundreds of years, they help us understand China today and the future that this singular country is helping shape for all of us.   NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH   “Superb . . . beautifully written and neatly structured.” — Financial Times   “[An] engaging narrative of the intellectual and cultural origins of China’s modern rise.” — The New York Times Book Review   “Informative and insightful . . . a must-read for anyone with an interest in the world’s fastest-rising superpower.” — Slate   “It does a better job than most other books of answering a basic question the rest of the world naturally asks about China’s recent rise: What does China want ?” — The Atlantic   “The portraits are beautifully written and bring to life not only their subjects but also the mood and intellectual debates of the times in which they lived.” — Foreign Affairs   “Excellent and erudite . . . [The authors] combine scholarly learning with a reportorial appreciation of colorful, revealing details.” — The National Interest From the Hardcover edition.

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The River of Lost Footsteps - Thant Myint-U Cover Art

The River of Lost Footsteps

The River of Lost Footsteps Histories of Burma by Thant Myint-U

For nearly two decades Western governments and a growing activist community have been frustrated in their attempts to bring about a freer and more democratic Burma—through sanctions and tourist boycotts—only to see an apparent slide toward even harsher dictatorship. But what do we really know about Burma and its history? And what can Burma's past tell us about the present and even its future? In The River of Lost Footsteps , Thant Myint-U tells the story of modern Burma, in part through a telling of his own family's history, in an interwoven narrative that is by turns lyrical, dramatic, and appalling. His maternal grandfather, U Thant, rose from being the schoolmaster of a small town in the Irrawaddy Delta to become the UN secretary-general in the 1960s. And on his father's side, the author is descended from a long line of courtiers who served at Burma's Court of Ava for nearly two centuries. Through their stories and others, he portrays Burma's rise and decline in the modern world, from the time of Portuguese pirates and renegade Mughal princes through the decades of British colonialism, the devastation of World War II, and a sixty-year civil war that continues today and is the longest-running war anywhere in the world. The River of Lost Footsteps is a work both personal and global, a distinctive contribution that makes Burma accessible and enthralling.

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Midnight's Furies - Nisid Hajari Cover Art

Midnight's Furies

Midnight's Furies The Deadly Legacy of India's Partition by Nisid Hajari

Named one of the best books of 2015 by NPR, Amazon, Seattle Times , and Shelf Awareness A  few bloody months in South Asia during the summer of 1947 explain the world that troubles us today. Nobody expected the liberation of India and birth of Pakistan to be so bloody — it was supposed to be an answer to the dreams of Muslims and Hindus who had been ruled by the British for centuries. Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi’s protégé and the political leader of India, believed Indians were an inherently nonviolent, peaceful people. Pakistan’s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was a secular lawyer, not a firebrand.  But in August 1946, exactly a year before Independence, Calcutta erupted in street-gang fighting. A cycle of riots — targeting Hindus, then Muslims, then Sikhs — spiraled out of control. As the summer of 1947 approached, all three groups were heavily armed and on edge, and the British rushed to leave. Hell let loose. Trains carried Muslims west and Hindus east to their slaughter. Some of the most brutal and widespread ethnic cleansing in modern history erupted on both sides of the new border, searing a divide between India and Pakistan that remains a root cause of many evils. From jihadi terrorism to nuclear proliferation, the searing tale told in Midnight’s Furies explains all too many of the headlines we read today.

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The Blood Telegram - Gary J. Bass Cover Art

The Blood Telegram

The Blood Telegram Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide by Gary J. Bass

A riveting history—the first full account—of the involvement of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in the 1971 atrocities in Bangladesh that led to war between India and Pakistan, shaped the fate of Asia, and left in their wake a host of major strategic consequences for the world today. Giving an astonishing inside view of how the White House really works in a crisis, The Blood Telegram is an unprecedented chronicle of a pivotal but little-known chapter of the Cold War. Gary J. Bass shows how Nixon and Kissinger supported Pakistan’s military dictatorship as it brutally quashed the results of a historic free election. The Pakistani army launched a crackdown on what was then East Pakistan (today an independent Bangladesh), killing hundreds of thousands of people and sending ten million refugees fleeing to India—one of the worst humanitarian crises of the twentieth century. Nixon and Kissinger, unswayed by detailed warnings of genocide from American diplomats witnessing the bloodshed, stood behind Pakistan’s military rulers. Driven not just by Cold War realpolitik but by a bitter personal dislike of India and its leader Indira Gandhi, Nixon and Kissinger actively helped the Pakistani government even as it careened toward a devastating war against India. They silenced American officials who dared to speak up, secretly encouraged China to mass troops on the Indian border, and illegally supplied weapons to the Pakistani military—an overlooked scandal that presages Watergate. Drawing on previously unheard White House tapes, recently declassified documents, and extensive interviews with White House staffers and Indian military leaders, The Blood Telegram tells this thrilling, shadowy story in full. Bringing us into the drama of a crisis exploding into war, Bass follows reporters, consuls, and guerrilla warriors on the ground—from the desperate refugee camps to the most secretive conversations in the Oval Office. Bass makes clear how the United States’ embrace of the military dictatorship in Islamabad would mold Asia’s destiny for decades, and confronts for the first time Nixon and Kissinger’s hidden role in a tragedy that was far bloodier than Bosnia. This is a revelatory, compulsively readable work of politics, personalities, military confrontation, and Cold War brinksmanship. 

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As China Goes, So Goes the World - Karl Gerth Cover Art

As China Goes, So Goes the World

As China Goes, So Goes the World How Chinese Consumers Are Transforming Everything by Karl Gerth

In this revelatory examination of the most overlooked force that is changing the face of China, the Oxford historian and scholar of modern Asia Karl Gerth shows that as the Chinese consumer goes, so goes the world. While Americans and Europeans have become increasingly worried about China's competition for manufacturing jobs and energy resources, they have overlooked an even bigger story: China's rapid development of an American-style consumer culture, which is revolutionizing the lives of hundreds of millions of Chinese and has the potential to reshape the world. This change is already well under way. China has become the world's largest consumer of everything from automobiles to beer and has begun to adopt such consumer habits as living in large single-occupancy homes, shopping in gigantic malls, and eating meat-based diets served in fast-food outlets. Even rural Chinese, long the laggards of consumerism, have been buying refrigerators, televisions, mobile phones, and larger houses in unprecedented numbers. As China Goes, So Goes the World reveals why we should all care about the everyday choices made by ordinary Chinese. Taken together, these seemingly small changes are deeper and more profound than the headline-grabbing stories on military budgets, carbon emissions, or trade disputes.

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Underground - Haruki Murakami Cover Art

Underground

Underground The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche by Haruki Murakami

In this haunting work of journalistic investigation, Haruki Murakami tells the story of the horrific terrorist attack on Japanese soil that shook the entire world.   On a clear spring day in 1995, five members of a religious cult unleashed poison gas on the Tokyo subway system. In attempt to discover why, Haruki Murakmi talks to the people who lived through the catastrophe, and in so doing lays bare the Japanese psyche. As he discerns the fundamental issues that led to the attack, Murakami paints a clear vision of an event that could occur anytime, anywhere.

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Tombstone - Yang Jisheng, Stacy Mosher & Jian Guo Cover Art

Tombstone

Tombstone The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962 by Yang Jisheng, Stacy Mosher & Jian Guo

The much-anticipated definitive account of China's Great Famine An estimated thirty-six million Chinese men, women, and children starved to death during China's Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s and early '60s. One of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century, the famine is poorly understood, and in China is still euphemistically referred to as "the three years of natural disaster." As a journalist with privileged access to official and unofficial sources, Yang Jisheng spent twenty years piecing together the events that led to mass nationwide starvation, including the death of his own father. Finding no natural causes, Yang attributes responsibility for the deaths to China's totalitarian system and the refusal of officials at every level to value human life over ideology and self-interest. Tombstone is a testament to inhumanity and occasional heroism that pits collective memory against the historical amnesia imposed by those in power. Stunning in scale and arresting in its detailed account of the staggering human cost of this tragedy, Tombstone is written both as a memorial to the lives lost—an enduring tombstone in memory of the dead—and in hopeful anticipation of the final demise of the totalitarian system. Ian Johnson, writing in The New York Review of Books , called the Chinese edition of Tombstone "groundbreaking . . . One of the most important books to come out of China in recent years."

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India - Patrick French Cover Art

India

India A Portrait by Patrick French

A monumental biography of the subcontinent from the award-winning author of The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V. S. Naipaul . Second only to China in the magnitude of its economic miracle and second to none in its potential to shape the new century, India is fast undergoing one of the most momentous transformations the world has ever seen. In this dazzlingly panoramic book, Patrick French chronicles that epic change, telling human stories to explain a larger national narrative. Melding on-the-ground reports with a deep knowledge of history, French exposes the cultural foundations of India’s political, economic and social complexities. He reveals how a nation identified with some of the most wretched poverty on earth has simultaneously developed an envied culture of entrepreneurship (here are stories like that of C. K. Ranganathan, who trudged the streets of Cuddalore in the 1980s selling sample packets of shampoo and now employs more than one thousand people). And even more remarkably, French shows how, despite the ancient and persistent traditions of caste, as well as a mind-boggling number of ethnicities and languages, India has nevertheless managed to cohere, evolving into the world’s largest democracy, largely fulfilling Jawaharlal Nehru’s dream of a secular liberal order. French’s inquiry goes to the heart of all the puzzlements that modern India presents: Is this country actually rich or poor? Why has its Muslim population, the second largest on earth, resisted radicalization to such a considerable extent? Why do so many children of Indians who have succeeded in the West want to return “home,” despite never having lived in India? Will India become a natural ally of the West, a geostrategic counterweight to the illiberal rising powers China and Russia? To find the answers, French seeks out an astonishing range of characters: from Maoist revolutionaries to Mafia dons, from chained quarry laborers to self-made billionaires. And he delves into the personal lives of the political elite, including the Italian-born Sonia Gandhi, one of the most powerful women in the world. With a familiarity and insight few Westerners could approach, Patrick French provides a vital corrective to the many outdated notions about a uniquely dynamic and consequential nation. His India is a thrilling revelation. From the Hardcover edition.

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Forgotten Ally - Rana Mitter Cover Art

Forgotten Ally

Forgotten Ally China's World War II, 1937-1945 by Rana Mitter

An Economist Book of the Year A Financial Times Book of the Year “A book that has long cried out to be written.” — Observer (UK), Books of the Year In 1937, two years before Hitler invaded Poland, Chinese troops clashed with Japanese occupiers in the first battle of World War II. Joining with the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain, China became the fourth great ally in a devastating struggle for its very survival. Prizewinning historian Rana Mitter unfurls China’s drama of invasion, resistance, slaughter, and political intrigue as never before. Based on groundbreaking research, this gripping narrative focuses on a handful of unforgettable characters, including Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Zedong, and Chiang’s American chief of staff, “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell. Mitter also recounts the sacrifice and resilience of everyday Chinese people through the horrors of bombings, famines, and the infamous Rape of Nanking. More than any other twentieth-century event, World War II was crucial in shaping China’s worldview, making Forgotten Ally both a definitive work of history and an indispensable guide to today’s China and its relationship with the West. “In the manner of David McCullough, [Mitter] creates a complex history that is urgently alive.” — Kirkus Reviews

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Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II - John W. Dower Cover Art

Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II

Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II by John W. Dower

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the 1999 National Book Award for Nonfiction, finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize and the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize, Embracing Defeat is John W. Dower's brilliant examination of Japan in the immediate, shattering aftermath of World War II. Drawing on a vast range of Japanese sources and illustrated with dozens of astonishing documentary photographs, Embracing Defeat is the fullest and most important history of the more than six years of American occupation, which affected every level of Japanese society, often in ways neither side could anticipate. Dower, whom Stephen E. Ambrose has called "America's foremost historian of the Second World War in the Pacific," gives us the rich and turbulent interplay between West and East, the victor and the vanquished, in a way never before attempted, from top-level manipulations concerning the fate of Emperor Hirohito to the hopes and fears of men and women in every walk of life. Already regarded as the benchmark in its field, Embracing Defeat is a work of colossal scholarship and history of the very first order. John W. Dower is the Elting E. Morison Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for War Without Mercy.

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Tarawa - Robert Sherrod Cover Art

Tarawa

Tarawa The Incredible Story of One of World War II's Bloodiest Battles by Robert Sherrod

In the summer of 1943, at the height of World War II, battles were exploding all throughout the Pacific theater. In mid-November of that year, the United States waged a bloody campaign on Betio Island in the Tarawa Atoll, the most heavily fortified Japanese territory in the entire Pacific. They were fighting to wrest control of the island to stage the next big push toward Japan—and one journalist was there to chronicle the horror. Dive into war correspondent Robert Sherrod’s battlefield account as he goes ashore with the assault troops of the U.S. Marines 2nd Marine Division in Tarawa. Follow the story of the U.S. Army 27th Infantry Division as nearly 35,000 troops take on less than 5,000 Japanese defenders in one of the most savage engagements of the war. By the end of the battle, only seventeen Japanese soldiers were still alive. This story, a must for any history buff, tells the ins and outs of life alongside the U.S. Marines in this lesser-known battle of World War II. The battle itself carried on for three days, but Sherrod, a dedicated journalist, remained in Tarawa until the very end, and through his writing, shares every detail.

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She Is Mine - Stephanie Fast Cover Art

She Is Mine

She Is Mine A War Orphans' Incredible Journey of Survival by Stephanie Fast

Her father was an American serviceman, her mother a young Korean woman confused by the ravages of war. Abandoned at age four, nameless, homeless, and utterly alone, this child roamed the bleak, war-ravaged countryside of South Korea for three years and was finally left for dead. But The Creator had other plans and revealed them through the words, "She Is Mine."

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From the Ruins of Empire - Pankaj Mishra Cover Art

From the Ruins of Empire

From the Ruins of Empire The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia by Pankaj Mishra

A surprising, gripping narrative depicting the thinkers whose ideas shaped contemporary China, India, and the Muslim world A little more than a century ago, as the Japanese navy annihilated the giant Russian one at the Battle of Tsushima, original thinkers across Asia, working independently, sought to frame a distinctly Asian intellectual tradition that would inform and inspire the continent's anticipated rise to dominance. Asian dominance did not come to pass, and those thinkers—Tagore, Gandhi, and later Nehru in India; Liang Qichao and Sun Yatsen in China; Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Abdurreshi al Ibrahim in the ruins of the Ottoman Empire—are seen as outriders from the main anticolonial tradition. But Pankaj Mishra shows that it was otherwise in this stereotype-shattering book. His enthralling group portrait of like minds scattered across a vast continent makes clear that modern Asia's revolt against the West is not the one led by faith-fired terrorists and thwarted peasants but one with deep roots in the work of thinkers who devised a view of life that was neither modern nor antimodern, neither colonialist nor anticolonialist. In broad, deep, dramatic chapters, Mishra tells the stories of these figures, unpacks their philosophies, and reveals their shared goal of a greater Asia. Right now, when the emergence of a greater Asia seems possible as at no previous time in history, From the Ruins of Empire is as necessary as it is timely—a book essential to our understanding of the world and our place in it.

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The Silk Road: A Very Short Introduction - James A Millward Cover Art

The Silk Road: A Very Short Introduction

The Silk Road: A Very Short Introduction by James A Millward

The phrase "silk road" evokes vivid scenes of merchants leading camel caravans across vast stretches to trade exotic goods in glittering Oriental bazaars, of pilgrims braving bandits and frozen mountain passes to spread their faith across Asia. Looking at the reality behind these images, this Very Short Introduction illuminates the historical background against which the silk road flourished, shedding light on the importance of old-world cultural exchange to Eurasian and world history. On the one hand, historian James A. Millward treats the silk road broadly, to stand in for the cross-cultural communication between peoples across the Eurasian continent since at least the Neolithic era. On the other, he highlights specific examples of goods and ideas exchanged between the Mediterranean, Persia, India, and China, along with the significance of these exchanges. While including silks, spices, and travelers' tales of colorful locales, the book explains the dynamics of Central Eurasian history that promoted Silk Road interactions--especially the role of nomad empires--highlighting the importance of the biological, technological, artistic, intellectual, and religious interchanges across the continent. Millward shows that these exchanges had a profound effect on the old world that was akin to, if not on the scale of, modern globalization. He also disputes the idea that the silk road declined after the collapse of the Mongol empire or the opening of direct sea routes from Europe to Asia, showing how silk road phenomena continued through the early modern and modern expansion of the Russian and Chinese states across Central Asia. Millward concludes that the idea of the silk road has remained powerful, not only as a popular name for boutiques and restaurants, but also in modern politics and diplomacy, such as U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's "Silk Road Initiative" for India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

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Indian Summer - Alex Von Tunzelmann Cover Art

Indian Summer

Indian Summer The Secret History of the End of an Empire by Alex Von Tunzelmann

An extraordinary story of romance, history, and divided loyalties -- set against the backdrop of one of the most dramatic events of the twentieth century The stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, liberated 400 million people from the British Empire. With the loss of India, its greatest colony, Britain ceased to be a superpower, and its king ceased to sign himself Rex Imperator. This defining moment of world history had been brought about by a handful of people. Among them were Jawaharlal Nehru, the fiery Indian prime minister; Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the leader of the new Islamic Republic of Pakistan; Mohandas Gandhi, the mystical figure who enthralled a nation; and Louis and Edwina Mountbatten, the glamorous but unlikely couple who had been dispatched to get Britain out of India. Within hours of the midnight chimes, their dreams of freedom and democracy would turn to chaos, bloodshed, and war. Behind the scenes, a secret personal drama was also unfolding, as Edwina Mountbatten and Jawaharlal Nehru began a passionate love affair. Their romance developed alongside Cold War conspiracies, the beginning of a terrible conflict in Kashmir, and an epic sweep of events that saw one million people killed and ten million dispossessed. Steeped in the private papers and reflections of the participants, Alex von Tunzelmann's Indian Summer reveals, in vivid, exhilarating detail, how the actions of a few extraordinary people changed the lives of millions and determined the fate of nations.

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In Spite of the Gods - Edward Luce Cover Art

In Spite of the Gods

In Spite of the Gods The Rise of Modern India by Edward Luce

As the world's largest democracy and a rising international economic power, India has long been heralded for its great strides in technology and trade. Yet it is also plagued by poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, and a vast array of other social and economic issues. Here, noted journalist and former Financial Times South Asia bureau chief Edward Luce travels throughout India's many regions, cultures, and religious circles, investigating its fragile balance between tradition and modernity. From meetings with key political figures to fascinating encounters with religious pundits, economic gurus, and village laborers, In Spite of the Gods is a fascinating blend of analysis and reportage that comprehensively depicts the nuances of India's complex situation and its place in the world. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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The Last Mughal - William Dalrymple Cover Art

The Last Mughal

The Last Mughal by William Dalrymple

In this evocative study of the fall of the Mughal Empire and the beginning of the Raj, award-winning historian William Dalrymple uses previously undiscovered sources to investigate a pivotal moment in history. The last Mughal emperor, Zafar, came to the throne when the political power of the Mughals was already in steep decline. Nonetheless, Zafar—a mystic, poet, and calligrapher of great accomplishment—created a court of unparalleled brilliance, and gave rise to perhaps the greatest literary renaissance in modern Indian history. All the while, the British were progressively taking over the Emperor's power. When, in May 1857, Zafar was declared the leader of an uprising against the British, he was powerless to resist though he strongly suspected that the action was doomed. Four months later, the British took Delhi, the capital, with catastrophic results. With an unsurpassed understanding of British and Indian history, Dalrymple crafts a provocative, revelatory account of one the bloodiest upheavals in history.

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A Short History of China - Gordon Kerr Cover Art

A Short History of China

A Short History of China From Ancient Dynasties to Economic Powerhouse by Gordon Kerr

From the beginnings of Chinese prehistory right through to internet censorship, a comprehensive introduction to the sprawling history of this enormous country An absorbing introduction to more than 4,000 years of Chinese history, this book tells the stories of the tyrants, despots, femmes fatales, artists, warriors, and philosophers who have shaped this fascinating and complex nation. It describes the amazing technological advances that China's scientists and inventors made many hundreds of years before similar discoveries in Europe. It also investigates the Chinese view of the world and examines the movements, aspirations, and philosophies that molded it and, in so doing, created the Chinese nation. Finally, the book examines the dramatic changes of the last few decades and the emergence of China as an economic and industrial 21st-century superpower.

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China's Wings - Gregory Crouch Cover Art

China's Wings

China's Wings War, Intrigue, Romance, and Adventure in the Middle Kingdom During the Golden Age of Flight by Gregory Crouch

From the acclaimed author of Enduring Patagonia comes a dazzling tale of aerial adventure set against the roiling backdrop of war in Asia. The incredible real-life saga of the flying band of brothers who opened the skies over China in the years leading up to World War II—and boldly safeguarded them during that conflict— China’s Wings is one of the most exhilarating untold chapters in the annals of flight.   At the center of the maelstrom is the book’s courtly, laconic protagonist, American aviation executive William Langhorne Bond. In search of adventure, he arrives in Nationalist China in 1931, charged with turning around the turbulent nation’s flagging airline business, the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC). The mission will take him to the wild and lawless frontiers of commercial aviation: into cockpits with daredevil pilots flying—sometimes literally—on a wing and a prayer; into the dangerous maze of Chinese politics, where scheming warlords and volatile military officers jockey for advantage; and into the boardrooms, backrooms, and corridors of power inhabited by such outsized figures as Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek; President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; foreign minister T. V. Soong; Generals Arnold, Stilwell, and Marshall; and legendary Pan American Airways founder Juan Trippe.   With the outbreak of full-scale war in 1941, Bond and CNAC are transformed from uneasy spectators to active participants in the struggle against Axis imperialism. Drawing on meticulous research, primary sources, and extensive personal interviews with participants, Gregory Crouch offers harrowing accounts of brutal bombing runs and heroic evacuations, as the fight to keep one airline flying becomes part of the larger struggle for China’s survival. He plunges us into a world of perilous night flights, emergency water landings, and the constant threat of predatory Japanese warplanes. When Japanese forces capture Burma and blockade China’s only overland supply route, Bond and his pilots must battle shortages of airplanes, personnel, and spare parts to airlift supplies over an untried five-hundred-mile-long aerial gauntlet high above the Himalayas—the infamous “Hump”—pioneering one of the most celebrated endeavors in aviation history.   A hero’s-eye view of history in the grand tradition of Lynne Olson’s Citizens of London, China’s Wings takes readers on a mesmerizing journey to a time and place that reshaped the modern world.

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The Story of Tibet - Thomas Laird Cover Art

The Story of Tibet

The Story of Tibet Conversations with the Dalai Lama by Thomas Laird

Over the course of three years, journalist Thomas Laird spent more than sixty hours with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in candid, one-on-one interviews that covered history, science, reincarnation, and Buddhism. Laird brings these meetings to life in rich, vibrant, and monumental work that outlines the essence of thousands of years of civilization, myth, and spirituality. Tibet’s story is rich with tradition and filled with promise. It begins with the Bodhisattva Chenrizi ( The Holy One”) whose spirit many Tibetans believe resides within the Dalai Lama. We learn the origins of Buddhism, and about the era of Great Tibetan Emperors, whose reign stretched from southwestern China to Northern India. His Holiness introduces us to Tibet’s greatest yogis and meditation masters, and explains how the institution of the Dalai Lama was founded. Laird explores, with His Holiness, Tibet’s relations with the Mongols, the Golden Age under the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, Tibet’s years under Manchu overlords, modern independence in the early twentieth century, and the Dalai Lama’s personal meetings with Mao just before His Holiness fled into exile in 1959. The Story of Tibet is a tenderly crafted study that is equal parts love letter, traditional history, and oral history” ( Publishers Weekly ).

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Capitalism - Arundhati Roy Cover Art

Capitalism

Capitalism A Ghost Story by Arundhati Roy

From the poisoned rivers, barren wells, and clear-cut forests, to the hundreds of thousands of farmers who have committed suicide to escape punishing debt, to the hundreds of millions of people who live on less than two dollars a day, there are ghosts nearly everywhere you look in India. India is a nation of 1.2 billion, but the country’s 100 richest people own assets equivalent to one-fourth of India’s gross domestic product. Capitalism: A Ghost Story examines the dark side of democracy in contemporary India, and shows how the demands of globalized capitalism has subjugated billions of people to the highest and most intense forms of racism and exploitation.

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Pol Pot - Philip Short Cover Art

Pol Pot

Pol Pot Anatomy of a Nightmare by Philip Short

A gripping and definitive portrait of the man who headed one of the most enigmatic and terrifying regimes of modern times In the three and a half years of Pol Pot's rule, more than a million Cambodians, a fifth of the country's population, were executed or died from hunger. An idealistic and reclusive figure, Pol Pot sought to instill in his people values of moral purity and self-abnegation through a revolution of radical egalitarianism. In the process his country descended into madness, becoming a concentration camp of the mind, a slave state in which obedience was enforced on the killing fields. How did a utopian dream of shared prosperity mutate into one of the worst nightmares humanity has ever known? To understand this almost inconceivable mystery, Philip Short explores Pol Pot's life from his early years to his death. Short spent four years traveling throughout Cambodia interviewing the surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge movement, many of whom have never spoken before, including Pol Pot's brother-in-law and the former Khmer Rouge head of state. He also sifted through the previously closed archives of China, Russia, Vietnam, and Cambodia itself to trace the fate of one man and the nation that he led into ruin. This powerful biography reveals that Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were not a one-off aberration but instead grew out of a darkness of the soul common to all peoples. Cambodian history and culture combined with intervention from the United States and other nations to set the stage for a disaster whose horrors echo loudly in the troubling events of our world today.

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The Last Samurai - Mark Ravina Cover Art

The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori by Mark Ravina

The dramatic arc of Saigo Takamori's life, from his humble origins as a lowly samurai, to national leadership, to his death as a rebel leader, has captivated generations of Japanese readers and now Americans as well - his life is the inspiration for a major Hollywood film, The Last Samurai , starring Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe. In this vibrant new biography, Mark Ravina, professor of history and Director of East Asian Studies at Emory University, explores the facts behind Hollywood storytelling and Japanese legends, and explains the passion and poignancy of Saigo's life. Known both for his scholarly research and his appearances on The History Channel, Ravina recreates the world in which Saigo lived and died, the last days of the samurai. The Last Samurai traces Saigo's life from his early days as a tax clerk in far southwestern Japan, through his rise to national prominence as a fierce imperial loyalist. Saigo was twice exiled for his political activities -- sent to Japan's remote southwestern islands where he fully expected to die. But exile only increased his reputation for loyalty, and in 1864 he was brought back to the capital to help his lord fight for the restoration of the emperor. In 1868, Saigo commanded his lord's forces in the battles which toppled the shogunate and he became and leader in the emperor Meiji's new government. But Saigo found only anguish in national leadership. He understood the need for a modern conscript army but longed for the days of the traditional warrior. Saigo hoped to die in service to the emperor. In 1873, he sought appointment as envoy to Korea, where he planned to demand that the Korean king show deference to the Japanese emperor, drawing his sword, if necessary, top defend imperial honor. Denied this chance to show his courage and loyalty, he retreated to his homeland and spent his last years as a schoolteacher, training samurai boys in frugality, honesty, and courage. In 1876, when the government stripped samurai of their swords, Saigo's followers rose in rebellion and Saigo became their reluctant leader. His insurrection became the bloodiest war Japan had seen in centuries, killing over 12,000 men on both sides and nearly bankrupting the new imperial government. The imperial government denounced Saigo as a rebel and a traitor, but their propaganda could not overcome his fame and in 1889, twelve years after his death, the government relented, pardoned Saigo of all crimes, and posthumously restored him to imperial court rank. In THE LAST SAMURAI , Saigo is as compelling a character as Robert E. Lee was to Americans-a great and noble warrior who followed the dictates of honor and loyalty, even though it meant civil war in a country to which he'd devoted his life. Saigo's life is a fascinating look into Japanese feudal society and a history of a country as it struggled between its long traditions and the dictates of a modern future.

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Nagasaki - Susan Southard Cover Art

Nagasaki

Nagasaki Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard

WINNER of the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize FINALIST for the Ridenhour Book Prize  •  Chautauqua Prize  •  William Saroyan International Prize for Writing  • PEN Center USA Literary Award  NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Economist • The Washington Post • American Library Association   • Kirkus Reviews “A poignant and complex picture of the second atomic bomb’s enduring physical and psychological tolls. Eyewitness accounts are visceral and haunting. . . . But the book’s biggest achievement is its treatment of the aftershocks in the decades since 1945.” — The New Yorker A powerful and unflinching account of the enduring impact of nuclear war, told through the stories of those who survived.   On August 9, 1945, three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, a small port city on Japan’s southernmost island. An estimated 74,000 people died within the first five months, and another 75,000 were injured. Published on the seventieth anniversary of the bombing,  Nagasaki  takes readers from the morning of the bombing to the city today, telling the first-hand experiences of five survivors, all of whom were teenagers at the time of the devastation. Susan Southard has spent years interviewing  hibakusha  (“bomb-affected people”) and researching the physical, emotional, and social challenges of post-atomic life. She weaves together dramatic eyewitness accounts with searing analysis of the policies of censorship and denial that colored much of what was reported about the bombing both in the United States and Japan.   A gripping narrative of human resilience,  Nagasaki  will help shape public discussion and debate over one of the most controversial wartime acts in history. From the Hardcover edition.

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In Our Image - Stanley Karnow Cover Art

In Our Image

In Our Image America's Empire in the Philippines by Stanley Karnow

Traces the history of the Philippines, discusses the influence of Spain and the United States, and looks at the problems facing the Philippines today.

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Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom - Stephen R. Platt Cover Art

Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom

Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War by Stephen R. Platt

A gripping account of China’s nineteenth-century Taiping Rebellion, one of the largest civil wars in history. Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom brims with unforgettable characters and vivid re-creations of massive and often gruesome battles—a sweeping yet intimate portrait of the conflict that shaped the fate of modern China.   The story begins in the early 1850s, the waning years of the Qing dynasty, when word spread of a major revolution brewing in the provinces, led by a failed civil servant who claimed to be the son of God and brother of Jesus. The Taiping rebels drew their power from the poor and the disenfranchised, unleashing the ethnic rage of millions of Chinese against their Manchu rulers. This homegrown movement seemed all but unstoppable until Britain and the United States stepped in and threw their support behind the Manchus: after years of massive carnage, all opposition to Qing rule was effectively snuffed out for generations. Stephen R. Platt recounts these events in spellbinding detail, building his story on two fascinating characters with opposing visions for China’s future: the conservative Confucian scholar Zeng Guofan, an accidental general who emerged as the most influential military strategist in China’s modern history; and Hong Rengan, a brilliant Taiping leader whose grand vision of building a modern, industrial, and pro-Western Chinese state ended in tragic failure.   This is an essential and enthralling history of the rise and fall of the movement that, a century and a half ago, might have launched China on an entirely different path into the modern world.

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Chinese Lessons - John Pomfret Cover Art

Chinese Lessons

Chinese Lessons Five Classmates and the Story of the New China by John Pomfret

"A highly personal, honest, funny and well-informed account of China's hyperactive effort to forget its past and reinvent its future."— The New York Times Book Review As one the first American students admitted to China after the communist revolution, John Pomfret was exposed to a country still emerging from the twin tragedies of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Crammed into a dorm room with seven Chinese men, Pomfret contended with all manner of cultural differences, from too-short beds and roommates intent on glimpsing a white man naked, to the need for cloak-and-dagger efforts to conceal his relationships with Chinese women. Amidst all that, he immersed himself in the remarkable lives of his classmates. Beginning with Pomfret's first day in China, Chinese Lessons takes us down the often torturous paths that brought together the Nanjing University History Class of 1982: Old Wu's father was killed during the Cultural Revolution for the crime of being an intellectual; Book Idiot Zhou labored in the fields for years rather than agree to a Party-arranged marriage; and Little Guan was forced to publicly denounce and humiliate her father. As Pomfret follows his classmates from childhood to adulthood, he examines the effect of China's transition from near-feudal communism to first-world capitalism. The result is an illuminating report from present-day China, and a moving portrait of its extraordinary people.

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The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China - David J. Silbey Cover Art

The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China

The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China A History by David J. Silbey

The year is 1900, and Western empires—both old and new—are locked in regional entanglements across the globe. The British are losing a bitter war against the Boers while the German kaiser is busy building a vast new navy. The United States is struggling to put down an insurgency in the South Pacific while the upstart imperialist Japan begins to make clear to neighboring Russia its territorial ambition. In China, a perennial pawn in the Great Game, a mysterious group of superstitious peasants is launching attacks on the Western powers they fear are corrupting their country. These ordinary Chinese—called Boxers by the West because of their martial arts showmanship—rise up, seemingly out of nowhere. Foreshadowing the insurgencies of the more recent past, they lack a centralized leadership and instead tap into latent nationalism and deep economic frustration to build their army. Their battle cry: "Support the Qing, exterminate the foreigners." Many scholars brush off the Boxers as an ill-conceived and easily defeated revolt, but the military historian David J. Silbey shows just how close they came to beating back the combined might of all the imperial powers. Drawing on the diaries and letters of allied soldiers and diplomats, Silbey paints a vivid portrait of the short-lived war. Even though their cause ended just as quickly as it began, the bravery and patriotism of the Boxers would inspire Chinese nationalists—including a young Mao Zedong—for decades to come.

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Samurai William - Giles Milton Cover Art

Samurai William

Samurai William The Englishman Who Opened Japan by Giles Milton

An eye-opening account of the first encounter between England and Japan, by the acclaimed author of Nathaniel's Nutmeg In 1611, the merchants of London's East India Company received a mysterious letter from Japan, written several years previously by a marooned English mariner named William Adams. Foreigners had been denied access to Japan for centuries, yet Adams had been living in this unknown land for years. He had risen to the highest levels in the ruling shogun's court, taken a Japanese name, and was now offering his services as adviser and interpreter. Seven adventurers were sent to Japan with orders to find and befriend Adams, in the belief that he held the key to exploiting the opulent riches of this forbidden land. Their arrival was to prove a momentous event in the history of Japan and the shogun suddenly found himself facing a stark choice: to expel the foreigners and continue with his policy of isolation, or to open his country to the world. For more than a decade the English, helped by Adams, were to attempt trade with the shogun, but confounded by a culture so different from their own, and hounded by scheming Jesuit monks and fearsome Dutch assassins, they found themselves in a desperate battle for their lives. Samurai William is the fascinating story of a clash of two cultures, and of the enormous impact one Westerner had on the opening of the East.

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