- Harvard University Press
Unlikely Partners: Chinese Reformers, Western Economists, and the Making of Global China
- Julian Gewirtz
- Harvard University Press
- 9.3 X 6.5 X 1.3 inches
- 1.7 pounds
- History > Asia - China
Unlikely Partners recounts the story of how Chinese politicians and intellectuals looked beyond their country's borders for economic guidance at a key crossroads in the nation's tumultuous twentieth century. Julian Gewirtz offers a dramatic tale of competition for influence between reformers and hardline conservatives during the Deng Xiaoping era, bringing to light China's productive exchanges with the West.
When Mao Zedong died in 1976, his successors seized the opportunity to reassess the wisdom of China's rigid commitment to Marxist doctrine. With Deng Xiaoping's blessing, China's economic gurus scoured the globe for fresh ideas that would put China on the path to domestic prosperity and ultimately global economic power. Leading foreign economists accepted invitations to visit China to share their expertise, while Chinese delegations traveled to the United States, Hungary, Great Britain, West Germany, Brazil, and other countries to examine new ideas. Chinese economists partnered with an array of brilliant thinkers, including Nobel Prize winners, World Bank officials, battle-scarred veterans of Eastern Europe's economic struggles, and blunt-speaking free-market fundamentalists.
Nevertheless, the push from China's senior leadership to implement economic reforms did not go unchallenged, nor has the Chinese government been eager to publicize its engagement with Western-style innovations. Even today, Chinese Communists decry dangerous Western influences and officially maintain that China's economic reinvention was the Party's achievement alone. Unlikely Partners sets forth the truer story, which has continuing relevance for China's complex and far-reaching relationship with the West.
Julian Baird Gewirtz has been Senior Fellow for China Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow of the Columbia-Harvard China and the World Program, an Academy Scholar at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, a lecturer in history at Columbia University, and a lecturer in history at Harvard University.
He is the author of several books: Unlikely Partners: Chinese Reformers, Western Economists, and the Making of Global China (Harvard University Press, 2017), which The Economist called "a gripping read, highlighting what was little short of a revolution in China’s economic thought"; Never Turn Back: China and the Forbidden History of the 1980s (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, forthcoming 2022); and a book of poems, Your Face, My Flag (Copper Canyon Press, forthcoming 2022).
He completed his doctorate in history in 2018 at the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. From 2015 to 2016, he was on leave from Oxford and served in the Obama Administration, most recently as special advisor for international affairs to the Deputy Secretary of Energy.
His research is published in the Journal of Asian Studies, Past & Present, The American Scholar, the China Leadership Monitor, and Foreign Affairs. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, he has also written on Asia for publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, The Guardian, the Financial Times, Harper’s, and Foreign Policy.
His poems have been published by AGNI, Boston Review, Lambda Literary, The Nation, The New Republic, PEN America, Ploughshares, and The Yale Review, and have received recognition from the Academy of American Poets and Best American Poetry.
Samples of his work are here: “To X (Written on This Device You Made),” “Yde Girl,” and “Spend.” His poetry criticism and nonfiction essays have been published by The Economist, Parnassus: Poetry in Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Poetry Foundation, and the Washington Post.
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