China Watcher
336 pages, 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
Release Date:01 Mar 2010

China Watcher

Confessions of a Peking Tom

University of Washington Press

This audacious and illuminating memoir reflects on forty years of learning about and interacting with the People's Republic of China, from the height of Maoism during the author's UC Berkeley student days in the volatile 1960s through globalization. Anecdotes illustrate the alternately peculiar, frustrating, fascinating, and risky activity of China watching – the process by which outsiders gather and decipher official and unofficial information to figure out what's really going on behind China's veil of political secrecy and propaganda. Baum writes entertainingly, telling his narrative with witty stories about people, places, and eras.

This is an enjoyable description of the personalities and political forces that shaped the modern field of China studies.

The special charm of China Watcher is the way Baum draws the reader into a world of musty archives and political rivalries both grand and petty, to give us insights into the political, social, and economic transformation of China. Along the way we are treated to cameos from a wide range of actors, some of whom -- like George H. W. Bush and Chalmers Johnson -- go on to great notoriety. I literally had trouble putting it down. Michael L. Ross, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, UCLA
Baum is one of the most insightful China watchers around and he provides a first-hand overview of developments in China interwoven with the nature and significance of China watching. He blends his own personal journal with the larger events, displaying liveliness and analysis. Thomas Gold, University of California, Berkeley
Simply wonderful! I read it right through. Andrew Walder, Stanford University
Both informative and humorous, this book is well-written, amusing, and provides a comprehensive view of the field of modern Chinese studies. Merle Goldman, Harvard University and Boston University
Rick Baum has been both a leading scholar and a scholarly leader in the field of contemporary Chinese politics since the 1960s. This book provides intensely personal portraits of the American scholarly community and of a changing China, from the Cultural Revolution right up until now. I read it with great enthusiasm and enormous pleasure. It's the kind of book that's hard to put down. Harry Harding, University of Virginia
Richard Baum is Distinguished Professor of political science at UCLA. His many publications include Burying Mao: Chinese Politics in the Age of Deng Xiaoping.
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