An incisive investigation of China's ideological development as it becomes an ever more aggressive player in regional and global diplomacy.
For many years after Deng Xiaoping initiated the economic reforms that began in 1978 and led to its overtaking the USA as the world's economic powerhouse, China maintained an attitude of false modesty about its ambitions. That diffidence has now been set aside. China has asserted its place among the global heavyweights, revealing its plans for pan-Asian geopolitical dominance by building up its navy, fabricating new islands to support its territorial claims in areas like the South China Sea, and diplomatically bullying smaller players.
Underlying this shift in attitude is a strain of thinking that casts China's present-day actions in historical terms. China is now once more on the path to restoring the glories of its dynastic past. Howard W. French demonstrates that if we can understand how that historical identity informs current actions - in ways ideological, philosophical, and even legal - we can learn to forecast just what kind of global power China intends to become - and to interact wisely with the superpower.
"A deep historical and cultural study of the meaning of China's rise... Fascinating... Convincing." -The New York Times Book Review
‘Through [French's] considered analysis and investigations, the scale of 21st-century Chinese ambition, and its determination not to be simply absorbed into the Western liberal order, become powerfully evident ... French lucidly illuminates the specifics of these ambitions with detailed historical investigation, turning over some long-held truisms along the way ... Everything Under the Heavens provides the best account we currently have of the cultural and historical influences on China's 21st century aspirations.' -Asian Review of Books
‘French combines wide scholarship with the instinct of a dogged reporter ... Fascinating.' -The Irish Times
‘[An] essential reminder about the unparalleled influence of the past on China's political present ... One of the most lucid and illuminating books on China's conception of power and its place in the world ... Fascinating.' -The Times Literary Supplement
‘Provocative ... Clearly argued ... Filled with memorable sentences.' -The New York Review of Books
‘Compelling ... Fluent and interesting.' -Financial Times
‘Stimulating ... This book is a reminder that China's international relations take place in a historical context going back centuries if not millennia, and Mr. French is an engaging guide through that deeper history.' -The Wall Street Journal
‘Howard W. French makes it clear China's sense of national superiority is of more than historical significance ... Chilling.' -The Globe and Mail
‘Impressive ... Masterful ... An excellent introduction to the complex issues of East Asia and the potential for conflict in this critical region of the world.' -New York Journal of Books
‘Nuanced ... The detail of [French's] scholarship and reporting is matched by the suppleness of his prose ... This will be a useful, and necessary, starting point for informed discussion.' -Publishers Weekly
‘Everything Under the Heavens is the most persuasive account I've ever read of how China's history shapes its foreign policy and that of its neighbors today. A subtle and beautifully written book that offers surprising lessons for how Americans and Asians should respond to China's rise. Strongly recommended for policy makers and citizens alike.' -Susan Shirk, chair of the 21st Century China Center, University of California-San Diego
‘In the brilliant Everything Under the Heavens, Howard French offers a sweeping historical view of China's relentless attempt to build an Asian world order around its unchallenged authority. French's meticulously reported and beautifully written book is disquieting but essential reading.' -Nayan Chanda, former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review
‘Howard French has tackled what is perhaps the most important issue of our time, and of many years to come, with the vivid prose of a first-rate reporter, the scholarship of an excellent historian, and great human sympathy.' -Ian Buruma, author of Year Zero: A History of 1945
‘Taking full account of China's achievements and ambitions, without being panicked by them or losing sight of China's vulnerabilities, will be a major challenge for the next generation in the rest of the world - and in China itself. Howard French very lucidly lays out a guide to thinking about the next stage in China's evolution, and the positive signs and danger signals to be watching for.' -James Fallows, author of China Airborne
‘In Everything Under the Heavens, Howard French has written an absorbing and penetrating dissection of the deep roots of China's claims to large swathes of the oceans off Japan and south-east Asia, with profound implications for control over vitally important global trade. French understands that China's sense of historical entitlement is both deeply emotional and crudely political, and allows Beijing to pretend to stand with Asia, while standing over it at the same time.' -Richard McGregor, author of The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers