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Publisher's Summary

In The Third Revolution, eminent China scholar Elizabeth C. Economy provides an incisive look at the transformative changes underway in China today. 

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has unleashed a powerful set of political and economic reforms: the centralization of power under Xi himself; the expansion of the Communist Party's role in Chinese political, social, and economic life; and the construction of a virtual wall of regulations to control more closely the exchange of ideas and capital between China and the outside world.

Beyond its borders, Beijing has recast itself as a great power, seeking to reclaim its past glory and to create a system of international norms that better serves its more ambitious geostrategic objectives. In so doing, the Chinese leadership is reversing the trends toward greater political and economic opening, as well as the low-profile foreign policy, that had been put in motion by Deng Xiaoping's "Second Revolution" 30 years earlier.

©2018 Elizabeth Economy (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Third Revolution

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Uninteresting and biased

By far the least interesting book on China that I've listened to or read yet. The author primarily focuses on issues and critiques of China that generally only appeal to the progressive ruling classes of Western democracies. Not falling into that category I found many of the authors arguments and critiques biased and falling flat. the author is a CFR fellow and the subject to the group think so typical of that milieu, and it very much shows.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good information, poor performance

The narrator sounds as though she's reading a news report that never ends. The pronunciation of names in Chinese needs to be more accurate, as it is especially jarring to hear mispronounced names when you understand Chinese. This is not a problem for the short passages in Chinese as I wouldn't expect a narrator to be fully accurate, but names are short and important so getting them right should be a priority.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-01-13

Pathetic

Monologue of cons with no pros or analysis.The autbor's ignorance of China is breathtaking. 'China' Internet is slow' she writes, betraying that she has merely surfed up what she can find. I recommend a career change.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Jack Hanson
  • 2020-05-21

Thoughtful Book, Challenging Audiobook

Economy is thorough in discussing the various changes afloat in President Xi’s China. Drawing from Chinese and English source material as well as her decades of experience with China, she addresses typical US concerns about China but goes beyond the “mainstream media” perspective about the country.

While the book is an informative read about a changing China, the reading is at times incomprehensible. Perrin has clearly not been coached on basic Pinyin pronunciation, so some Chinese sayings or names are totally meaningless and completely mispronounced. I understand how difficult Chinese is and I would not expect the reader to master the four tones, but they at least need to have a general sense of how Pinyin consonants are pronounced (“X” is always pronounced like “SH” and not “Z”, “ZH” is pronounced similar to “J” and also not “Z”...). I am not being just a Mandarin snob about this— the reader fumbles through lists of names and slogans so much that I have given up hope of looking up these ideas in other sources. If this was my uncle reading a newspaper out loud I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but an audiobook should not waste the listener’s time with such sloppy pronunciation.

If anything this motivates me to buy the physical book!

In summary, five star book, one star reading.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Lester Gesteland
  • 2019-03-15

Extremely Informative, A Must-Listen

The depth and breadth of Elizabeth Economy's knowledge of China is amazing. She zeros in on the most salient features of Xi Jinping's China and explains them thoroughly. She also offers the current US administration advice on how to deal with Xi's "Third Revolution."

The narration of her book is OK. My only complaint (and it's a big one), is that Jo Anna Perrin doesn't know how to pronounce the Mandarin text. Audible should have hired someone fluent in Mandarin to read this book. (Why not Elizabeth Economy herself?)

Lester Gesteland
Former News Editor for China Online

6 people found this helpful

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  • Yoda
  • 2019-04-29

A decent synopsis of Xi Jinping and his polices

This book examines Xi and his role in the formulation of recent Chinese policy in its many forms. This is from a very high level and is relatively broad in its coverage. In terms of domestic political policy, for example, the author points out that Xi has reversed Deng’s policy of “collective” leadership and is trying to consolidate as much power in his hands. He is trying to also strengthen the power of the Communist Party of China in of China (and hence make China more of an authoritarian power), albeit it is not clear in the book whether this is part of Xi’s plans at consolidation or due to his belief and/or faith in the party and Marxist-Leninist ideology. The book also covers state owned enterprises, foreign policy, the anti-liberal tendencies of Xi in terms of internet and press freedom and environmental policy, among other policies.

Due to the fact that the book covers all of these at a relatively high level and covers each of these many policy spheres relatively briefly, it is not of benefit to the specialist on China or to those very knowledgeable on contemporary China but, instead, to those less so. For that audience this book is highly recommended for its coverage of Chinese policy and how Xi is molding these.

In terms of weaknesses, the book’s main one is that it does not provide the biography of Xi that it should. It provides some basic (and brief) facts such as his family background and where he went to school but unfortunately does not attempt to answer the very important question of “who is this man”? This is very important as Xi is clearly at the center of the recent thrust in just about all major Chinese policy initiatives as well as attempting to concentrate all political power in himself. It is important to answer questions, in this context, such as does he view himself as some type of Messiah of the Chinese people? Is he power hungry? Does he have a dangerously overblown ego? Is he an ideologue (a Marxist-Leninist) or, instead, a Chinese nationalist (with the emphasis being on ethno-centric Han Chinese nationalism)? All of these are very important questions that need to be answered (or examined seriously and at length). Hopefully there will be some books published published on these questions in the near future. They absolutely need to be examined in order to get a better understanding of where China currently is in terms of policy and where it will head in the near future.

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2020-01-02

Really Great Look on China in this Generation

I really enjoyed this! This book goes into the weeds of major issues China faces domestically as a rising power on the international stage as well as the challenges the international community faces as China reshapes norms to obtain advantage. I appreciated the insights and details. If you're watching China, I really recommend this!
*Note: The ONLY critique I have is with the Audible narration - I found myself cringing at mispronounced Chinese names and phrases. I love that the author included the Chinese though! I just couldn't enjoy it enough. Recommend using a narrator familiar with Chinese (and its tones). Otherwise, the narrator did well.

2 people found this helpful

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  • JBF
  • 2019-10-16

An Excellent Overview of Contemporary China

This is probably the single best volume available for understanding contemporary issues involving China, its policies, and policies of other states toward it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • GoingGoingGone...
  • 2020-07-26

Excellent Review of Xi's China

This book is a fascinating and broad overview of today's policies of China under Xi. It doesn't go into much depth over Xi's biography, nevertheless this book gave me an excellent perspective on all the issues Xi confronts as he pushes in new policy directions, as well as the reasoning behind the responses of other countries - whether it's a tilt toward cooperation with China, or away from it. The end of the book goes into greater depth regarding how American and other Western powers should protect their interests in the face of aggressive and anti-competitive moves by China, and how their relationship with China can be turned toward cooperation. The author's knowledge was vast, yet ably presented . I highly recommend this book to anybody curious about today's China and the political nuances that dwell below the surface. The reader's performance was excellent.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amaze
  • 2020-06-16

Dry but nutritious

The writing style is dry and academic--or maybe think-tank style. However, the content is very solid and informative. Possibly the dry style prevents the book from taking on a polemical tone, as much of the import of the book as that Xi Jinping is imposing an ever-tighter straitjacket on China. The one bright spot might be his attack on pervasive corruption.

In terms of writing style one problem I had was the abundance of acronyms. It's hard to keep them all straight.

One perspective I would have enjoyed is a comparison with some of the political constraints imposed on US citizens, and academics in particular. In the US an academic must toe a politically correct line. It is sad that the term "politically correct" comes directly from Maoist practice. Many US academic and media thought-police are Maoist, whether they know it or not. But perhaps that's a topic for a different book.

In sum: If you have any interest in modern China and it's political system this is a worthy read.

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  • Allan
  • 2019-01-14

Amazing Listen

An in-depth view of Chinese current events.

Focuses on China’s relationship with US.

Touches upon Xi’s ambitions.

Fantastic listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • wishitwasalwayssummer
  • 2019-06-08

Horrible narration!

I've listened to a lot of books on Audible and this is by far the worst narration I have every heard. The narrators voice inflections are extremely unnatural and make following the fairly dry text almost completely unbearable. After several attempts to restart it I finally gave up about 30 minutes into the book. I will never get a book by this narrator again.

2 people found this helpful