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Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 13. Mai 2014

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"In the pages of the New Yorker, Evan Osnos has portrayed, explained and poked fun at this new China better than any other writer from the West or the East. In Age of Ambition, Osnos takes his reporting a step further, illuminating what he calls China’s Gilded Age, its appetites, challenges and dilemmas, in a way few have done." —John Pomfret, Washington Post

Age of Ambition is… a riveting and troubling portrait of a people in a state of extreme anxiety about their identity, values and future, [and] a China rived by moral crisis and explosive frustration.” —Judith Shapiro, New York Times

"For those new to China, Mr Osnos beautifully portrays the nation in all its craziness, providing a ringside seat for the greatest show on earth." —The Economist

"Beautifully written ... an absolute must-read."  —Edward Steinfeld, Harvard Magazine

“China's Gilded Age has been every bit as fascinating, colorful and tragic as our own — and [Osnos] offers an engrossing account of it… [He] understands the depths of the transformations, the complexity of the contradictions, and the fragility of the overall enterprise.”—Chicago Tribune

"Evan Osnos ... has put his keen insight and intrepid research skills to use in his exploration of the internal intellectual and spiritual infrastructure of China's rise.”—Dan Blumenthal, The National Interest

“[Osnos] adeptly chronicles… China's 35-year journey from poverty and collective dogmatism to a dynamic if cut-throat era of competition, self-promotion and materialism.”—Julie Makinen, Los Angeles Times

Age of Ambition [is] eloquent and comprehensive…” —Jonathan Mirsky, New York Times Book Review

"Age of Ambition is a splendid and entertaining picture of 21st-century China…”—Michael Fathers, Wall Street Journal

"Evan Osnos gives us twenty-first-century China the way the best American journalists gave us the Gilded Age—he introduces us to outsized characters, tells tales of aspiration, success, and defeat, rakes the muck of corruption and repression, and captures the tremendous energy, as well as the darker impulses, of a society in the throes of a historic transformation." —George Packer, author of The Assassins' Gate and The Unwinding

"The very hardest thing to convey about modern China is the combination of hope and despair, idealism and crassness, coordinated mass action and chaotic individual scheming, that you encounter each day. Evan Osnos has captured all parts of this disorienting 'reality,' but he has done so much more. Beautifully written, humane but critical-minded, funny on every page, Age of Ambition offers a better understanding of China's process of 'becoming' than most people could ever gain by living there. China veterans and amateurs alike will find it an illuminating and delightful read." —James Fallows, author of China Airborne

"How often have travelers asked: 'What is the one book about China that I should read before I depart?' Alas, for years I have had no good answer to this question. But now, Evan Osnos has provided a stellar candidate. Wonderfully engaging, readable and informative, this vivid tableau of actors from all walks of Chinese life goes a long way to helping us make sense out of the often confusing complexity that is today's China." —Orville Schell, coauthor of Wealth and Power: China's Long March to the Twenty-first Century

"The best book on China I've ever read. Witty, indispensable, and often  moving. I look forward to stealing Evan Osnos's wisdom and passing it off as my own for years to come." —Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure and Super Sad True Love Story

“The rise of China is the biggest story of the past twenty-five years. Evan Osnos captures the country in all its striving, thunderous diversity, through a narrative that moves, provokes, and makes us laugh. Age of Ambition is a marvel of great reporting, careful thinking, and powerful writing.” —Dexter Filkins, author of The Forever War

“For most of a decade, Evan Osnos has been one of the most energetic, skilled, and thoughtful observers of China. Whether he's accompanying Chinese tourists to the Best Western in Luxembourg or watching Ai Weiwei blur the lines between performance and protest, Osnos is always engaging. This is a wonderful book.” —Peter Hessler, author of River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze and Country Driving: A Chinese Road Trip

“If you have time to read only one book about China today, read this one. Woven from vignettes of Chinese life at many different levels, it provides unerring insights into what makes the Chinese the people they are while wearing its learning so lightly that the narrative never flags. It should be in every tourist’s baggage and every diplomat’s library.”—Philip Short, author of Mao: A Life





A stunning narrative that reveals China as we have never understood it before.

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 114 Rezensionen
102 von 105 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A rare balance 18. Mai 2014
Von Oracle of Adelphi - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
China books seem especially tricky to write, because the writer has to please two very different types of American reader: the one who has a great deal of experience with China, and the one who does not. The first reader cringes if he has to read yet another description of how Shenzhen used to be a fishing village; but the second reader can't really understand Shenzhen unless you explain this fact. (As a strange hybrid of these two readers -- I lived in China but have no deep expertise in its history -- I often experience the worst of both worlds.)

This book strikes a rare balance. It's a very absorbing read, and its multiple story-lines are impressively woven together, without any of the stitches showing. The people Osnos writes about run the gamut from a public figure like Lin Yifu (the World Bank economist who defected to mainland China from Taiwan in 1979) to an obscure figure like Michael Zhang, a young energetic optimist whom Osnos first meets at a Crazy English conference and then follows for a few years. (Zhang turns into one of the most interesting characters in the book.)

Osnos tells all these individual stories against the backdrop of most of the major events in China of the last five years: the violence in Xinjiang, the Liu Xiaobo fiasco, the "Jasmine" events of 2011, Ai Weiwei's ordeal, the flight of Chen Guangcheng, the Bo Xilai scandal, the bullet train crash, and so on. You learn a great deal about all these events, but the book is anchored in its very humane profiles of individual Chinese who are trying to make their lives better.
123 von 140 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
a book for Americans 28. Mai 2014
Von TracyF - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I am a Chinese in the USA. An American friend recommended this Age of Ambition to me, saying it's amazing. But I found myself almost gave up when I read the first chapter on the Taiwan defector Lin Zhengyi. This is a story you can find on wikipedia, and lots of Chinese are very familiar with Lin Zhengyi too. I guess Americans will find it interesting, never mind. I decided to read on since I liked the writing style. The people and their stories in this book are nothing new to me. Even Ai Weiwei's part, I would just go to watch the movie Never Say Sorry again. The more I read, the more I think something is missing. Seems Mr. Even Osnos is keen on predicting the future of China. But the characters in his book are not representing the whole picture. I am not saying Hu Shuli, Lin Zhengyi or Han Han are passé, just the grass-root young strivers in the book are not those who are more likely to take over the throne. China is a elite society, even if you don't like the children of the officials, of the rich business men's, the truth is they are educated(some overseas) and have resources. They are more likely to govern the country in the future. I don't know why there is no voice from this group. If you are talking about ambitions, without input from that group, the picture of new China the author draws is just not completed. But again, for those who don't live in China, or never experience the culture, it's a good read.
48 von 53 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A great look at sociological shifts in modern China 15. Mai 2014
Von W. Sherer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
If you've been following Osnos's New Yorker pieces, you know he has a gift for finding seemingly eccentric anecdotes and using them to explain a larger point. In this new book, he takes that a step further and illustrates the overwhelming social change that has taken place in China over the past fifty years through the experiences of individuals that have lived through it. It's a wonderfully readable blend of idiosyncratic stories and insightful analysis that brings any reader, whether new to the topic or an experienced China watcher, a greater understanding of this emerging force in world events.
12 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
I knew that it would be one of the best books about the NOWADAY China 21. November 2014
Von Jie Zou - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition
Huge congrats to Evan Osnos! Age of Ambition won this year's National Book Awards!

I have been a loyal reader of Evan's articles in New Yorker and his blog. When I learned he planned to bundle these articles and some blogs together as a non-fiction book, I knew that it would be one of the best books about the NOWADAY China.

However, I want to start with shortcomings of this book. I am not so satisfied with the treatment of Justin Lin (the defector from Army of Taiwan, the powerful economist and professor in Beijing Univ., the former chief economist of World Bank). I would try not to spoil too much. Evan used him to set the fundamental tone of the whole book, which is "Ambition", as the title suggested. Why did Justin Lin, a political star in Taiwan Army, risk his life to swim over the sea to come to Mainland China? Evan hinted that it was because of Ambition. Sure, ambition is important for Justin Lin. But I think Evan missed another very important factor - the social responsibility of a traditional Chinese intellectual (a 'Shi4' in Chinese). This becomes obvious in Lin's letter to his cousin in Japan. Evan actually cited many sentences from that letter in the book. But I don't know why Evan did not cite the most important paragraph, in which Justin Lin described how excited he was when he visited Dujiang Great Dam. Dujiang Great Dam was built two thousands years ago and still serves the millions of people in the basin. The chief engineer Li Bin and his son were still remembered and admired today. In the letter, Justin continued to say (forgive my awkward translation): "standing by the river, listening to the roaring waves, I cannot help thinking that if I couldn't devote myself into building happy lives for our future generations, I will regret when I am old. "

Fighting for the well-being of our generation and future generations has always been a social responsibility for Chinese intellectuals. In this sense, Justin Lin, the zealous cheerleader of economic policies of the Chinese government, is the same as Ai Weiwei, the famous dissident. They both are fighting for the well-being of millions of Chinese. Of course, fighting for millions is also an ambition. Not everybody can do that. In order to do that, you actually also fight for more power or more fame. Sometimes you really cannot tell what you're fighting for. Yet I think Justin Lin was sincere in that letter. Yes, one can see great ambition of the young Lin in the letter. More importantly, you see that this guy has his ideal and his values.

When it comes to the grass-rooted people, I think Evan Osnos did a very good job in describing their daily-life struggles and their spiritual believes. The cleaner poet, the English teacher, the internet entrepreneur, the bishop... I think Evan really understands them and depicts them vividly and fairly. However, for Ai Weiwei, Justin Lin, and maybe the 'angry youth', I feel that Evan did not reach deep enough into their hearts and write down in the book what these somewhat traditional "elite" cared most. Maybe Evan chose to simplify it, because, after all, China is complicated. Chinese people are complicated. It is not easy to include too many themes in a book. Ambition is already a theme too big to handle.

Evan Osnos always says that it is easy for an American to understand Chinese. American dream and Chinese dream are basically the same. They just want to better-off their lives. The post-1970s China is similar to the Gilded age of America: thriving, vibrating, dirty. I love Evan Osnos' analog. But why a country, like the USA in the Gilded age, full of frauds, scandals and corruptions didn't fall apart? I think it was not only because the plain Americans (Chinese) were hardworking for their ambitions. A group of visionary elites played crucial roles. This group of people were well-aware of their social responsibilities and they did capture the opportunities and made the history. Ambition? Of course. But it is oversimplification if we only discuss about ambitions of Justin Lin.
10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
lots of fascinating grass roots stories. 21. Mai 2014
Von Perry M. Smith - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
This book is well worth your time since it gets down in the weeds and gives a feel the person on the street in various parts of China. Osnos's interest in China's youth is especially enlightening. China's youth of 25 years ago is much different and more diverse than China's youth today--many camps, some very chauvinistic, others highly critical of the government. A better title might have been Age of Aspiration or Age of Expectation.
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