The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom by John Pomfret
America and China, 1776 to the Present

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An occasionally too-dense but impressively wide-ranging history demonstrating that the U.S.–China relationship began decades before Richard Nixon arrived on the scene.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

A remarkable history of the two-centuries-old relationship between the United States and China, from the Revolutionary War to the present day

From the clipper ships that ventured to Canton hauling cargos of American ginseng to swap Chinese tea, to the US warships facing off against China's growing navy in the South China Sea, from the Yankee missionaries who brought Christianity and education to China, to the Chinese who built the American West, the United States and China have always been dramatically intertwined. For more than two centuries, American and Chinese statesmen, merchants, missionaries, and adventurers, men and women, have profoundly influenced the fate of these nations. While we tend to think of America's ties with China as starting in 1972 with the visit of President Richard Nixon to China, the patterns—rapturous enchantment followed by angry disillusionment—were set in motion hundreds of years earlier.

Drawing on personal letters, diaries, memoirs, government documents, and contemporary news reports, John Pomfret reconstructs the surprising, tragic, and marvelous ways Americans and Chinese have engaged with one another through the centuries. A fascinating and thrilling account, The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom is also an indispensable book for understanding the most important—and often the most perplexing—relationship between any two countries in the world.

 

About John Pomfret

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Formerly The Washington Post's bureau chief in Beijing and Los Angeles, John Pomfret was named editor of the Post's Outlook Section in 2007. In 2003, he was awarded the Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Asian Journalism and in 2007 won the Shorenstein Prize for coverage of Asia. He lives near Washington, D.C., with his wife and family.
 
Published November 29, 2016 by Henry Holt and Co.. 705 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom
All: 3 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Above average
on Sep 08 2016

An occasionally too-dense but impressively wide-ranging history demonstrating that the U.S.–China relationship began decades before Richard Nixon arrived on the scene.

Read Full Review of The Beautiful Country and the... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Simon Winchester on Dec 30 2016

Pomfret has more than adequately told the story of the last quarter-millennium’s acquaintanceship from America’s standpoint. What we need now is to know just how the “entangling embrace” is regarded by China...

Read Full Review of The Beautiful Country and the... | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Simon Winchester on Dec 30 2016

Pomfret has more than adequately told the story of the last quarter-millennium’s acquaintanceship from America’s standpoint. What we need now is to know just how the “entangling embrace” is regarded by China...

Read Full Review of The Beautiful Country and the... | See more reviews from NY Times
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