Thursday, 6 December 2012

China's Environmnetal Challenges by Judith Shapiro

This is a handy, accessible little book that is an illuminating collection of inter-connected essays that give a fascinating outline not just of the environmental challenges China faces this century [and by default the rest of the world], but the make-up culturally and politically of modern China.

The book is therefore surprisingly holistic in the way it tackles the many issues the Middle Kingdom faces in the coming decades.  Shapiro deftly shows how the country has recovered from it's humiliations of the 19th century and its violent political upheavals of the 20th, to reach the 21st century confident and- crucially- politically and cultural distinct from the West.  Considering how western influence and political structures are creaking at the moment, crippled by short-termism, identity crises and almost out of control levels of corruption, that of course may not be too bad a thing.

So this book is a very intriguing look through an opening window into a new superpower and is all the more powerful for the fact that the author has spent a long time there herself, and so we never lose sight of the very real, human side of Chinese society.