You know that China has exploded into the world’s second largest economy by GDP. But do you know what that means to the Chinese? New Yorker staff writer Evan Osnos spent eight years trying to answer that question, and brings us Age of Ambition by way of an answer. By RICHARD POPLAK.
Evan Osnos discusses his new book, Age of Ambition, and takes questions from the audience at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C. This event was recorded on May 19, 2014.
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So here we are, slap-bang in the middle of China’s Age of Ambition, where brightness is lauded and obscurity shunned. When New Yorker staff writer Evan Osnos first moved to China in 2005, he was like the rest of us, accustomed “to hearing the story of China’s metamorphosis told in vast, sweeping strokes involving one-sixth of humanity and great pivots of politics and economics. But up close, the deepest changes were intimate and perceptual, buried in daily rhythms in ways that were easy to overlook.”
Perhaps the highest praise I can lavish on Age of Ambition is that it feels like China: sprawling, occasionally schizophrenic, but ultimately bursting with promise and power. Osnos’ love for and admiration of the Chinese people is palpable, and he has written a remarkably comprehensive, kaleidoscopic account of China’s rise. That he is disappointed in the Party and critical of its approach to governance simply reflects his high expectations for a country that is sure to define the future.