The former Beijing bureau chief of the New York Times offers a revelatory history of the complicated, combative and often secret relationship between China and the United States during the past three decades.. The fragile friendship between China and the United States has always been shrouded in secrecy, miscommunication, rivalry, fondness and fear. Shaped by the Cold War during the Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan presidencies, the relationship has changed dramatically under Bush and Clinton. China and the United States may be the two most important countries in the world over the next several decades, but until this book nobody has truly explored the history of their relationship. Patrick Tylers booka remarkable, inside accountwill be the classic work on this subject, essential reading for anyone concerned about foreign policy past and foreign policy future.
When the People's Republic of China was proclaimed in 1949, the balance of power in Asia was irrevocably changed. Ever since, democratic America has been obliged to contend with a Communist colossus whose world objectives are diametrically opposed to its own--how to deal with a leader, Mao Zedong, who once said, "Let 400 million Chinese die and 300 million will be left"? This book is no dry history; the author describes how easily escalating tensions over Taiwan could involve the USA in a major war today. Trained as an investigative journalist, Patrick Tyler is a marvelous writer, combining shrewd diplomatic analysis with deft descriptions of the protagonists, many of whom he saw in action when he was New York Times bureau chief in Beijing. His cast of characters includes the greatest political figures of the day, from Mao and Gorbachev to six American presidents, beginning with Nixon, whose bold knocking opened China's door, and ending with Clinton's gamely attempting to balance America's commercial interests with human rights issues. Tyler's personal experience and formidable research, including 15,000 pages of newly declassified documents, produce gems such as Brezhnev's attempt to run off with a briefcase belonging to an American negotiator visiting the men's room, and the shocking picture of Kissinger passing national secrets to Chinese officials. A Great Wall is a highly readable account of relations between the world's most powerful and the world's most populous nations and their momentous implications for the new millennium. --John Stevenson