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China’s Political Economy Under the Microscope

China’s Political Economy Under the Microscope

  The “red swan” that gives this book its title refers to China’s Communist Party-state policy-making process, and is a play on the “black swan” of the induction fallacy, popularized by the former Wall Street trader and finance professor Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Sebastian Heilmann’s policy-centric work is a blend of political economy and political science […]

The Appalling Cost of Western Hubris

The Appalling Cost of Western Hubris

Given the vast literature on the Indochina wars, whether the French colonial conflict of 1945 to 1954 or the US war with North Vietnam of 1954 to 1975, it might be asked why the need for another study of a familiar subject. The value of this new, magisterial account, which has justly received plaudits from […]

Books to Read

Books to Read

Along with the last decade’s global trend of liberal retreat and authoritarian ascent, and as authoritarian states — China and Russia in particular — vigorously try to expand their influence across the globe, a new notion of “sharp power” has recently begun to attract attention. This refers to the ability to affect others to obtain […]

[Book review] Charles Bukowski, the Outsider Genius of the American Literature

[Book review] Charles Bukowski, the Outsider Genius of the American Literature

Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions, and General Tales of Ordinary Madness is a paperback collection of short stories written by Charles Bukowski published in 1972. Each story is based on first-person narration, compiling stories that are personally linked to Bukowski’s own life. At the time he wrote the novel, the author was fifty years-old. He twice tried […]

[Book review] The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts

[Book review] The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts

Dragons, ghosts, and cooked racoons—they were the backbone of her existence, and the only attachment she had to the culture of her first-generation Chinese immigrant parents. By calling forth memories of her childhood growing up a small Asian girl in California, Maxine Hong Kingston opens her family’s box of secrets to the world. But The […]

[Book review] Identity in Hermann Hesse’s Novels

[Book review] Identity in Hermann Hesse’s Novels

Demian is a semi-autobiographical story written by Hermann Hesse, published in 1919. The novel is set in Germany, in the decade preceding World War I, and tells of a troubled adolescent’s arrival at self-awareness. Emil Sinclair is his own narrator, describing his personal journey towards a genuine understanding of his inner self after growing up […]

[Book Review] President Duterte: How and Why?

[Book Review] President Duterte: How and Why?

  Easy answers came fast on the heels of his May 2016 election, most putting him down for a fool or a tool. Two new books take a closer look at both Rodrigo Duterte the man and the initial phase of his presidency. In A Duterte Reader, sociologist Nicole Curato gathered 19 Filipino scholars, journalists and […]

[Book Review] Charting China’s Contradictions

[Book Review] Charting China’s Contradictions

The vote by the Chinese National People’s Congress in March to abolish presidential term limits marked a dramatic, if unsurprising, step along President Xi Jinping’s path toward centralizing power. As he moves to entrench his authority at home as the country’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, he also seeks to deepen Beijing’s imprint abroad: […]

[Book Review] Questioning the Role of Women in the 19th Century

[Book Review] Questioning the Role of Women in the 19th Century

Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen, Thomas Egerton, 1813   Set in rural England in the early 1800s, Pride and Prejudice is a novel of the Bennett family’s story. The family includes a negligent father, a silly empty-headed mother, and five daughters: the eldest Jane, Elizabeth (also called Lizze and sometimes, Eliza), Mary, Kitty, and the […]

[Book Rewiev] Charles Bukowski, the Outsider Genius of the American Literature

[Book Rewiev] Charles Bukowski, the Outsider Genius of the American Literature

[Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness] Charles Bukowski, City Lights Publishers, 1972 Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions, and General Tales of Ordinary Madness is a paperback collection of short stories written by Charles Bukowski, published in 1972. Each story is based on first-person narration, compiling stories that are personally linked to Bukowski’s own life. […]

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