Tuesday, May 7, 2013

On China

I have been reading Henry Kissinger's book On China. It is a slow read, but extremely well written, and massively informative.  And extremely scary.

By scary I mean two things. First: I consider myself rather well educated, you know, Cornell undergraduate, Colgate graduate school, etc. But I have to say that 90% of what I now know about China and the US-China relationship I know from this book. Maybe younger people are better off. My school years were ending as the Sino-American interface was just beginning to thaw, back in the 1970s.

The second scary thing is this: I read this book via Kindle (which is not scary at all), which limited me to 2 weeks and no chance of renewing. This 600+ page book, being read for maybe an hour a day tops, has now taken me 6 weeks. I have now had to "return" the book 3 times, and reborrow it 3 times.  With our library system you cannot borrow a book you already have out, so you have to hand it in and go to the end of the queue. But...

Three times now there has been no queue. And our library system only has one ecopy to lend out. This system includes all of Columbia, Dutchess, Green, Ulster, and Putnam counties in New York State.  In that whole system not one other person expressed an interest in the ebook. No waiting list at all.

Then again, at Amazon this book has, as of today, 186 reviews, while Harry Potter #7 has over 4000.

I know there are people out there who will say that this is totally understandable, categorizing Kissenger as just another conservative who doesn't know anything anyway.

I guess I'll just have to read a lot more about China to get a broader feeling. Even I know that relying on just one source for anything is not healthy.