“Americans need not be hostile toward China's rise, but they should be wary about its eventual effects. The United States is the only nation with the scale and power to try to set the terms of its interaction with China rather than just succumb. So starting now, Americans need to consider the economic, environmental, political, and social goals they care about defending as Chinese influence grows.”
—from “China Makes, the World Takes”
Since December 2006, The Atlantic Magazine's James Fallows has been writing some of the most discerning accounts of the economic and political transformation occurring in China. The ten essays collected here cover a wide-range of topics: from visionary tycoons and TV-battling entrepreneurs, to environmental pollution and how China subsidizes our economy. Fallows expertly and lucidly explains the economic, political, social, and cultural forces at work turning China into a world superpower at breakneck speed. This eye-opening and cautionary account is essential reading for all concerned not only with China's but America's future role in the world.
By using the word "postcards" for the title of this lively collection of a dozen reports written between the summers of 2006 and 2008…he seems to be alerting readers to expect vignettes rather than extended essays. But readers shouldn't be put off by the word, because Fallows does manage to give us panoramic views of China that are both absorbing and illuminating. If these reports are "postcards," it is only in the Chinese sensethe three characters commonly used to translate "postcard" (ming xin pian) literally mean something more like "exposed letter card" or "open letter." That may not quite be an expose, but it's certainly more than a quick note.