For well over two hundred years we have lived in a western-made world, one where the very notion of being modern is inextricably bound up with being western. The twenty-first century will be different. The rise of China, India and the Asian tigers means that, for the first time, modernity will no longer be exclusively western. The west will be confronted with the fact that its systems, institutions and values are no longer the only ones on offer. The key idea of Martin Jacques's ground-breaking new book is that we are moving into an era of contested modernity.
The central player in this new world will be China. Continental in size and mentality, China is a 'civilisation-state' whose characteristics, attitudes and values long predate its existence as a nation-state. Although clearly influenced by the west, its extraordinary size and history mean that it will remain highly distinct, and as it exercises its rapidly growing power it will change much more than the world's geo-politics. The nation-state as we understand it will no longer be globally dominant, and the Westphalian state-system will be transformed; ideas of race will be redrawn. This profound and far-sighted book explains for the first time the deeper meaning of the rise of China.
By far the best book on China to have been published in many years, and one of the most important inquiries into the nature of modernisation. Jacques's comprehensive and richly detailed analysis will be an indispensable resource for anyone who wants to understand contemporary China -- John Gray New Statesman Provocative ... stimulating ... full of bold but credible predictions ... I suspect it will long be remembered for its foresight and insight -- Michael Rank Guardian This important book, deeply considered, full of historical understanding and realism, is about more than China. It is about a twenty-first-century world no longer modelled on and shaped by North Atlantic power, ideas and assumptions. I suspect it will be highly influential -- Eric Hobsbawm Jacques's book will provoke argument and is a tour de force across a host of disciplines -- Mary Dejevsky The Independent [An] exhaustive, incisive exploration of possibilities that many people have barely begun to contemplate about a future dominated by China. ... [Jacques] has written a work of considerable erudition, with provocative and often counterintuitive speculations about one of the most important questions facing the world today. And he could hardly have known, when he set out to write it, that events would so accelerate the trends he was analyzing. -- Joseph Kahn The New York Times Book Review A very forcefully written, lively book that is full of provocations and predictions -- Fareed Zakaria GPS, CNN [A] compelling and thought-provoking analysis of global trends... Jacques is a superb explainer of history and economics, tracing broad trends with insight and skill -- Seth Faison The Washington Post The West hopes that wealth, globalization and political integration will turn China into a gentle giant... But Jacques says that this is a delusion. Time will not make China more Western; it will make the West, and the world, more Chinese The Economist