In This Review

Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China's Push for Global Power
Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China's Push for Global Power
By Howard W. French
Knopf, 2017, 352 pp.
The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present
The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present
By John Pomfret
Henry Holt, 2016, 704 pp.

On November 15, 2012, the day he became general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping stood onstage at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, to reflect back on his country’s 5,000 years of history. After citing China’s “indelible contribution” to world civilization, Xi called for “the great revival of the Chinese nation.” And he acknowledged that others had “failed one time after another” to realize that goal. Implicit in Xi’s remarks was a promise: unlike his predecessors, he would not fall short. 

Xi’s narrative of rejuvenation has resonated deeply among today’s Chinese. It places

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.

Subscribe