History > Asian

One in 30 of the people on this planet is Indonesian. The 13,000 islands of their homeland, scattered along the equator, stretch the distance from London to Tehran, and the residents of the capital, Jakarta, tweet more than those of any other city on the planet. By any standard, Indonesia is a global hub, one of the most dyna... read more

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By sea and on the airwaves, by dollar and yuan, a contest has begun that will shape the next century. China's rise has now entered a critical new phase, as it begins to translate its considerable economic heft into a bigger role on the world stage, challenging America's recent supremacy. With its new navy, China is trying to ... read more

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'The General will now enter the room.' Everyone turns to stone. Not moving my head, I direct my eyes to a point halfway up the archway where Kim Jong-il's face will soon appear. As North Korea's State Poet Laureate, Jang Jin-sung led a charmed life. With food provisions, a travel pass, access to strictly censored information ... read more

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Sampat Pal was married at twelve, essentially illiterate. Today she leads a vigilante group fighting for women's rights: the Pink Gang. When Sheelu was arrested for stealing from a powerful politician, she was sure that she would be forced to accept a prison sentence, not least because she alleged that she had been abused b y... read more

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Over the last decade, the center of world power has been quietly shifting from Europe to Asia. With oil reserves of several billion barrels, an estimated nine hundred trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and several centuries' worth of competing territorial claims, the South China Sea in particular is a simmering pot of potent... read more

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ORIENTALISM is one of the greatest and most influential of books of ideas to be published since the end of the European empires. For generations now it has defined our understanding of colonialism and empire and with each passing year its influence becomes if anything even greater. To mark its 25th anniversary, ORIENTALISM ri... read more

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As 1936 gave way to 1937, the people of Peking waited nervously for the axe to fall. The encirclement by the Japanese army was tightening daily and troop skirmishes were on the rise. The Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek had fled south to Nanking, where some said he was ready to cut a deal with Tokyo and leave the peo... read more

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Author: Frank Dikotter


Awards:Winner of BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2011.

Shortlisted for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2011 Between 1958 and 1962, 45 million Chinese people were worked, starved or beaten to death. Mao Zedong threw his country into a frenzy with the Great Leap Forward, an attempt to catch up with and overtake the Western world in less than fifteen years. It lead to... read more

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China will replace the United States as the world's dominant power. In so doing, it will not become more western but the world will become more Chinese.
Jacques argues that we cannot understand China in western terms but only through its own history and culture. To this end, he introduces a powerful set of ideas includ... read more

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For more than 50 years, Burma has been ruled by a succession of military regimes which rank among the most oppressive dictatorships in the world. Accused of crimes against humanity, they have brutally mistreated their people. Yet in the last couple of years, and in spite of sham elections, the pace of change has been breathta... read more

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Richard McGregor's "The Party" has been established as the book on China and its political leadership. It is indispensable to understanding what may soon become the most powerful country on earth, and here is it is newly updated to include material on the once-in-a-decade leadership changes taking place in November 2012. Newl... read more

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On a dark evening in November 1862, a cheap coffin is buried in eerie silence. There are no lamentations or panegyrics, for the British Commissioner in charge has insisted, 'No vesting will remain to distinguish where the last of the Great Mughals rests.' This Mughal is Bahadur Shah Zafar II, one of the most tolerant and like... read more

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Set against the turbulent background of China in the first half of the 20th century, this reads like a romantic novel; but it's a true story. The reporter is the intrepid Australian journalist Will Donald, who arrived in Hong Kong in 1903 and by 1908 was Managing Editor of the China Mail. As a freelance journalist based in Sh... read more

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The history of modern Afghanistan is an epic drama, a thriller, a tragedy, a surreal farce. Every forty years or so, over the last two centuries, some great global power has attempted to take control of Afghanistan, only to slink away wounded and bewildered. Games without Rules recounts this strange story, not from the outsid... read more

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Indonesia, a nation of thousands of islands and almost 250 million people, straddles the junction of the Pacific and Indian oceans. The world's biggest Muslim nation has long been one of Australia's important strategic partners, and the relationship has become closer - if occasionally fraught - under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

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In the summer of 1998, Jenny Bowen looked out her kitchen window onto her garden, and her life changed forever. Her three-year-old daughter Maya, whom she and her husband had adopted months earlier from an orphanage in China, had transformed from a vacant-eyed, sickly little girl into a joyous being thriving in an environment... read more

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Mao Zedong's Little Red Book (Quotations from Chairman Mao) - a compilation of the Chinese leader's speeches and writings - is one of the most visible and ubiquitous symbols of twentieth-century radicalism. Published for the first time in 1964, it rapidly became the must-have accessory for Red Guards and revolutionaries from ... read more

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This richly anecdotal guide to every street in Shanghai details many landmarks and stories associated with its best-known avenues. A definitive index to the street names of Shanghai, some of which have disappeared or been removed, allows historians, researchers, tourists, and the just plain curious to navigate the city in its... read more

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In the summer of 1976, Mao lay dying, and China was struck by a great natural disaster. The earthquake that struck Tangshan was one of the worst in recorded history, killing half a million people. But the Chinese Communist rulers in Beijing were distracted, paralysed by in-fighting over who would take control after Mao finally died.

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In Rana Mitter's tense, moving and hugely important book, the war between China and Japan - one of the most important struggles of the Second World War - at last gets the masterly history it deserves. Different countries give different opening dates for the period of the Second World War, but perhaps the most compelling is 19... read more

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