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The Invention of China Hardcover – 13 October 2020

4.3 out of 5 stars 58 ratings

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Review

"[A] smart take on modern Chinese nationalism."--Foreign Policy

"A very readable book that will educate the general reader and provide experienced sinologists with a bevy of insights and fresh perspectives on a growing military and economic power."--Walter Clemens, New York Journal of Books

"This captivating volume by Hayton (Chatham House and BBC World News) seeks to illustrate how China's reworking of the past not only helped to justify its right to rule a century ago, but also motivates its policies today. . . . Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty."--S. K. Ma, Choice

'China is never out of the news, but we need to stop and think why our conventional wisdom about the country may need rethinking. Whether it's the name of the country itself, or the maps that underpin its territorial claims, Hayton is a sure, informed and often witty guide to understanding how this major state came to imagine itself.'--Rana Mitter, author of China's Good War

'Immensely readable ... As China becomes increasingly nationalistic and aggressive, how Party leaders view their national identity and destiny grows ever more critical. This is a valuable porthole into that important subject.' --Orville Schell, author of Wealth and Power

'A remarkable tour de force. This prodigious, highly readable book enhances our understanding of the origins and possible future of China's ethnic conflicts, territorial disputes, and great power aspirations.' --Suisheng Zhao, Professor of International Studies, University of Denver

"Engaging . . . Historians, poets, film-makers inside and outside China have built, demolished and rebuilt a multidimensional country/culture object that is more shaped by than shaping the aspirations and anxieties of humanity."--Pamela Kyle Crossley, author of The Wobbling Pivot, China since 1800

'Hayton's work challenges readers to remember that ideas defining "China" today are no more exceptional than those underpinning any state or nation. Assertions about rising from humiliation and immutable positions existing "since ancient times" are in fact creations of an ongoing, modernist state-building project.'--Ja Ian Chong, Assistant Professor, National University of Singapore

About the Author

Bill Hayton is an associate fellow with the Asia-Pacific Programme at Chatham House and a former journalist with BBC World News. He is the author of The South China Sea and Vietnam. He lives in Colchester, England.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ *Yale University Press; 1st edition (13 October 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0300234821
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0300234824
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 15.49 x 3.05 x 23.62 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 58 ratings

About the author

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Bill Hayton is the author of three books on Asia: 'The Invention of China' published by Yale University Press in 2020, 'The South China Sea: the struggle for power in Asia' published by Yale in 2014 and 'Vietnam: rising dragon' published by Yale in 2010 (with a second edition published in 2020).

Bill worked as a television and radio journalist from 1995 until 2020, for most of that time with BBC News. He was the BBC's reporter in Vietnam in 2006-7 and was seconded to work with the Myanmar state broadcaster in 2013/14.

Bill is an Associate Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Programme at the Chatham House think tank in London and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Before working in Vietnam he reported from Europe and the Middle East including Iran, Yemen and the Balkans.

He has a personal website at www.billhayton.com

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
58 global ratings

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Reviewed in Australia on 17 November 2020
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1.0 out of 5 stars Basic principles of research are ignored, making this an opinion piece.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 November 2020
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1.0 out of 5 stars Basic principles of research are ignored, making this an opinion piece.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 November 2020
Many assumptions are made, and research was tailored to suit. The author does not appear to have read the secondary sources he cites, for example (and shamefully for a Brit) the Writ of Habeas Corpus, its passage to a legal instrument as "An Act for the better Securing the Liberty of the Subject, and for Prevention of Imprisonments beyond the Seas" (31 Cha. II c.2) in 1679. Instead, the author claims it was enshrined in the Magna Carta, which stated that no person could be imprisoned unlawfully. This is basic English legal history. There is then a progression to claiming the Writ was issued for the person of Sun Wen (Sun Yat-sen), which simply isn't correct. The Judge declined to issue the Writ, as this was a foreign affairs matter.

If such basic and incorrect errors are made, how can the book be believed? The answer is that it cannot, because the Author performed research to reinforce a biased political opinion, rather than an academic search for unfettered knowledge.
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History Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars A history of modern Chinese Nationalism
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 31 October 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars great book!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 November 2020
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Wellington Amorim
5.0 out of 5 stars Um enfoque desmistificador
Reviewed in Brazil on 30 December 2020
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FictionFan
1.0 out of 5 stars And the point is…?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 31 January 2021
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