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Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China Paperback – 22 Oct 2013


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A masterful new history of China's reform era. It pieces together from interviews and memoirs perhaps the clearest account so far of the revolution that turned China from a totalitarian backwater led by one of the monsters of the 20th century into the power it has become today...Vogel has a monumental story to tell. His main argument is that Deng deserves a central place in the pantheon of 20th-century leaders. For he not only launched China's market-oriented economic reforms but also accomplished something that had eluded Chinese leaders for almost two centuries: the transformation of the world's oldest civilization into a modern nation...[An] illuminating book.-- (09/09/2011)

Ezra Vogel's new biography portrays Deng as not just the maker of modern China, but one of the most substantial figures in modern history...[A] meticulously researched book...Vogel knows China's elites extremely well, not least because of his years as an intelligence officer in East Asia for the Clinton administration. This book is bolstered by insider knowledge and outstanding sources, such as interviews with Deng's interpreters...The definitive account of Deng in any language. Vogel eloquently makes the case for Deng's crucial role in China's transformation from an impoverished and brutalized country into an economic and political superpower.-- (10/22/2011)

A lively portrait of the man...Vogel provides a wealth of fascinating material, from vivid accounts of Deng's political and organizational skills in reviving the economy in the mid-1970s to his up-and-down relations with Vietnam and its leaders. The author also offers astute insights into the reformist roles played by Hua Guofeng, Mao's immediate successor after his 1976 death, and by two of Deng's own associates, both ultimately purged by him, Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang. The book is at its best in portraying the tense interplay of personal relations and ambition among Mao's many lieutenants. On the surface, lockstep Communist ideology prevailed during Mao's rule, but behind the walls of Zhongnanhai, Beijing's central leadership compound, the dual drive for self-preservation and advancement fed a kind of political nihilism.-- (10/22/2011)

When Chinese historians are able one day to ply their subversive trade without control or censorship, their judgment will surely be that their country should revere Deng Xiaoping way above his predecessor Mao Zedong...Ezra Vogel's massive biography assembles the case for Deng (1904-97) with narrative skill and prodigious scholarship.-- (10/15/2011)

Vogel has gone to enormous lengths to document his subject...Vogel's painstaking research provides plenty of fascinating detail. The description of the period after Tiananmen, for example--when the octogenarian was forced to call on a lifetime's accumulated political wiles to defeat an attempt by conservatives to almost completely reverse his reforms--is eye-opening. The pages in which Deng effectively threatens to have then Communist Party Secretary Jiang Zemin dismissed unless he throws his support behind renewing the reform drive are very nearly worth the price of the book alone...On the ways through which Deng set about the enormous task of rebuilding the gutted economy, shattered by decades of turmoil under Mao Zedong, Vogel is exhaustive.-- (10/17/2011)

Ezra Vogel's encyclopedic Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China is the most exhaustive English retelling of Deng's life. Vogel, an emeritus professor at Harvard, seems to have interviewed or found the memoirs of nearly every person who spoke with Deng, and has painstakingly re-created a detailed and intimate chronology of Deng's roller-coaster career.-- (09/27/2011)

A virtue of Vogel's book is that it collects and organizes a huge amount of material on the struggles within the elite power circles in China over several decades. In these accounts we learn how Deng tried to protect his allies and how he sought to undermine his enemies; he fell, rose, fell again, then rose again to the pinnacle position in the second generation of the Communist dynasty. Vogel's materials will be very useful to students of elite power struggles in China.-- (11/10/2011)

One of the virtues of Vogel's analysis is that he understands the thinking of Deng's rivals as well as he does Deng's own...Deng was infatuated with everything he viewed as modern, and wanted China to have it all. By entering into Deng's vision, Vogel helps readers see how the person who forged the world's most successful example of modernizing authoritarianism believed that such a combination would work.-- (02/22/2012)

[An] exhaustive biography...Vogel's book is an encyclopedic look at Deng's career.-- (12/02/2011)

Deng was perhaps the most intriguing leader that I met while traveling with Mr. Blumenthal and President Jimmy Carter. I had to wait another 30 years, however, before a definitive biography would be written about Deng, arguably the most globally transformational leader of the 20th century. This year Ezra Vogel delivered it with Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China.-- (12/19/2011)

About the Author

Ezra F. Vogel is the author of numerous books on Japan and China, including Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography, winner of the Lionel Gelber Prize, and a Best Book of the Year in the Economist, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. It was also a New York Times Editors' Choice and a Gates Notes Top Read. Vogel is the author of the classic work Japan as Number One, whose Japanese edition topped the bestseller list there for many years. He is Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences, Emeritus, at Harvard University.

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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 127 reviews
David D. Friedman
4.0 out of 5 starsGood book, possibly mistaken interpretation of how the transformation happened.
11 March 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
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10 people found this helpful.
m
4.0 out of 5 starsGreat biography of one of the most important historical figures ...
11 June 2018 - Published on Amazon.com
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2 people found this helpful.
Steven Peterson
5.0 out of 5 starsAn important biography of one of the major figures in China's transformation
10 August 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
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9 people found this helpful.
Todor Markov
5.0 out of 5 starsAn excellent biography of one of the most important modern-world leaders
26 September 2018 - Published on Amazon.com
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2 people found this helpful.
Lyndon Tucker
5.0 out of 5 starsA great book, reads very smooth
9 February 2018 - Published on Amazon.com
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2 people found this helpful.