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"Beware the Dragon" is all about "them and us" - a fast-moving tale of historic events, the reasons behind them, the decisive battles, and the bloodshed and horror they caused. Erik Durschmied's vivid survey of the fateful centuries presents a dramatic picture of how new political entities were born out of the ruins of bankrupt empires, and the borders of the world redrawn.On the morning of 9 April 1241, a rider horde came thundering from the East, and shattered the steely might of Europe's proud knights. In the early hours of 24 November 1950, another horde of Chinese soldiers smashed into the army of the United Nations in Korea. Between these two conflicts were seven centuries of near-uninterrupted bloodshed.Following World War II came the ill-fated Marshall Mission, a failed invasion of Taiwan, the rape of Tibet and the perilous Ussuri Gamble. And then, after Zhou Enlai's and Kissinger's ping-pong diplomacy, just when things seemed again to have been put right, two warplanes collided over the China Sea.Collisions between China and the rest of the world are among the most vexing challenges of history - a succession of massive, brutal confrontations, involving millions. The story is a saga of mayhem and confusion, blunders and mistakes that brought the belligerents no credit; in telling it the author paints a fascinating and coherent picture of China's rise from isolation to its emerging superpower position.The world has accepted the fact of uncertainly, fearing China's capabilities but not, apparently, its intentions. Yet modern China faces daunting challenges - mounting internal social protest, and foreign trade wars - that could derail its phenomenal rise and deliver a crippling shock to global economy. Trade wars can easily lead, and often have, to shooting wars. The writing is on the wall.
Andre Deutsch Ltd
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