With August nearly upon us and vacation days ahead, we thought it appropriate to suggest a few books to read during the coming month. These suggestions are not endorsements of the perspectives in these books, but, again, are suggestions because we think that they will provoke your thinking about China and U.S.-China relations.
First up, Thomas J. Christensen's The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power. The author is a Princeton professor and served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bush (43) administration, and his diligent work has earned him the right to be taken seriously: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0393081133/
Second, Lyle Goldstein's Meeting China Halfway: How to Defuse the Emerging U.S.-China Rivalry. Goldstein has long argued that the current contradictions in U.S. China policy are leading to rivalry, and he proposes a series of measures for how to untangle the situation that neither Beijing or Washington ate likely to find particularly palatable: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1626161607/
Third, Jonathan Holslag's China's Coming War with Asia. Holslag's slim volume presents a structural international relations theory-based argument for why China is on a collision course with its neighbors, and, unlike similar works, backs it up with current developments: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/074568825X/
Fourth, Daniel Bell's The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy. Although some have criticized this book's presentation of both the Chinese and U.S. political systems, Bell invites the reader to think more deeply about the nature of both systems: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0691166455/
Remember, in the words of Sir Francis Bacon, "Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention."