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The China Diary of George H. W. Bush:
The Making of a Global President
Edited and introduced by Jeffrey A. Engel
With a preface by George H. W. Bush

Hardcover | 2008 | $29.95 / £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691130064
576 pp. | 6 x 9 | 20 halftones. | SHOPPING CART

eBook | ISBN: 9781400829613 |
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Reviews | Table of Contents
Introduction [HTML] or [PDF] pdf-icon
A Q&A with author Jeffrey A. Engel

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Available in print for the first time, this day-by-day diary of George H. W. Bush's life in China opens a fascinating window into one of the most formative periods of his career. As head of the United States Liaison Office in Beijing from 1974 to 1975, Bush witnessed high-level policy deliberations and daily social interactions between the two Cold War superpowers. The China Diary of George H. W. Bush offers an intimate look at this fundamental period of international history, marks a monumental contribution to our understanding of U.S.-China relations, and sheds light on the ideals of a global president in the making.

In compelling words, Bush reveals a thoughtful and pragmatic realism that would guide him for decades to come. He considers the crisis of Vietnam, the difficulties of détente, and tensions in the Middle East, while lamenting the global decline in American power. He formulates views on the importance of international alliances and personal diplomacy, as he struggles to form meaningful relationships with China's top leaders. With a critical eye for detail, he depicts key political figures, including Gerald Ford, Donald Rumsfeld, Deng Xiaoping, and the ever-difficult Henry Kissinger. Throughout, Bush offers impressions of China and its people, describing his explorations of Beijing by bicycle, and his experiences with Chinese food, language lessons, and Ping-Pong.

Complete with a preface by George H. W. Bush, and an introduction and essay by Jeffrey Engel that place Bush's China experience in the broad context of his public career, The China Diary of George H. W. Bush offers an unmediated perspective on American diplomatic history, and explores a crucial period's impact on a future commander in chief.

Review:

"These diary entries--describing a cheerful round of visits, meals, tennis games, and efforts to strike up personal relationships with Chinese officials and the Beijing diplomatic corps--are nonetheless compulsive reading. They convey the local color of a quaint Beijing that is now lost to history, as well as reveal much about the gregarious character and social skills of the man who became the 41st U.S. president. Engel's exemplary notes and interpretative essay add to the volume's readability and scholarly value."--Andrew J. Nathan, Foreign Affairs

"[B]ush's year in China laid the foundations for the pragmatic, prudent, personal foreign policy that would characterize his presidency. With superb annotations and analysis by Jeffrey Engel, a professor of history and public policy at Texas A&M, Bush's daily diary sheds light not only on 'the making of a global president' but on two nations in transition: late Maoist China, as it moved, tentatively, toward engagement with the international community; and the United States, as it absorbed the implications of defeat in Vietnam."--Glenn C. Altschuler, Baltimore Sun

"As a president-to-be at a career crossroads and the second permanent representative of the U.S. in China, his frank thoughts recorded each night and now transcribed and expertly footnoted make for fascinating reading. Mr. Bush's official position and his lack of knowledge about China ensure that his diary offers little historically new. But in place of that, his day-by-day thoughts give something as valuable, a much-needed reminder of the diplomatic reality on the ground when the Sino-U.S. relationship was in its infancy. . . . In many ways, his time in China helped him to usher in a new world order with relatively little turbulence, regardless of how fragile that order is subsequently proving to be."--Paul Mozur, Far Eastern Economic Review

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      File created: 9/23/2014

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