The dean of American sinologists has written what is probably destined to be a small classic-a history of China over the last 185 years in one volume. It will be an ideal introduction to China for the general reader. The book is brimming with insight and illumination that can come only from a long historical perspective. On the future of Deng Xiaoping's reform effort, Fairbank believes that the P.R.C.'s entrance into international life cannot in general be reversed, but he is still wary of a xenophobic, anti-materialistic reaction to the current "open door" policy.