This is Doak Barnett's finest book in a distinguished career of interpreting modern China. It is by far the most thorough and balanced account yet written of the post-Mao efforts in China to modernize its economy against great obstacles. There are many useful tables, and the footnotes alone (which are a good guide to the best recent literature on China) take up about 150 pages. Barnett believes that Deng Xiaoping's reform efforts will have to show significant results by the mid-1980s or Deng and his allies might well forfeit their political support. He is cautiously optimistic about their prospects.