Chinese Puzzle

FREDERIC J. BROWN-AFP/GETTY IMAGES

ETERNAL VIGILANCE: Chinese troops walk the beat in Beijing

As China's economic growth has surged to astonishing levels in recent years, a matching wave of books chronicling its rise has poured from the presses of publishers in Europe and the U.S. Many of these tend to be rather breathless accounts of how China's boom is affecting its own people and the rest of the world—tales of human struggle and environmental destruction within the Middle Kingdom, or, elsewhere, of entire steel factories being crated up and shipped to the mainland along with tens of thousands of jobs. But a second broad classification of China books is now emerging. These attempt to...

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