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  • Superpower Interrupted

  • The Chinese History of the World
  • By: Michael Schuman
  • Narrated by: Shawn Compton
  • Length: 13 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Asia
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This global history as the Chinese would write it gives brilliant and unconventional insights for understanding China's role in the world, especially the drive to "Make China Great Again."

We in the West routinely ask: "What does China want?" The answer is quite simple: the superpower status it always had, but briefly lost.

In this colorful, informative story filled with fascinating characters, epic battles, influential thinkers, and decisive moments, we come to understand how the Chinese view their own history and how its narrative is distinctly different from that of Western civilization. More important, we come to see how this unique Chinese history of the world shapes China's economic policy, attitude toward the United States and the rest of the world, relations with its neighbors, positions on democracy and human rights, and notions of good government.

As the Chinese see it, for as far back as anyone can remember, China had the richest economy, the strongest military, and the most advanced philosophy, culture, and technology. The collision with the West knocked China's historical narrative off course for the first time, as its 5,000-year reign as an unrivaled superpower came to an ignominious end.

Ever since, the Chinese have licked their wounds and fixated on returning their country to its former greatness, restoring the Chinese version of its place in the world as they had always known it. For the Chinese, the question was never if they could reclaim their former dominant position in the world, but when.

©2020 Michael Schuman (P)2020 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Schuman skillfully narrates more than three thousand years of history through a Chinese lens that places China at the center of the world and Chinese civilization above all others. Superpower Interrupted provides crucial insights into Xi Jinping's Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation that seeks to restore China to its rightful place as world leader. Superpower Interrupted is essential reading for all those who want a deeper understanding of the historical roots of China's national objectives." (Bonnie Glaser, Center for Strategic and International Studies)

"Of considerable interest to students of world trade, geopolitics, and history." (Kirkus Reviews)

"As noted historian Jonathan Spence argued some twenty-two years ago, the West has long been guilty of seeing China through the same lens that it sees itself. Michael Schuman provides a fascinating antidote to this bias, examining China's worldview through its own lens. Is history on China's side? Schuman offers some tantalizing hints to the answer of that critical question." (Stephen Roach, senior fellow Yale University, former chairman Morgan Stanley Asia)

What listeners say about Superpower Interrupted

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Very good short political history of The PRC

Excellent, learned a lot in a short time, very interesting and exciting to listen too

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An excellent perspective on China

This is a terrific book. Most of it is a history of China and proto-China. By looking at this history a basic pattern arises of successive rises and collapses of the Chinese state. The modern history of China is the fit into this basic pattern. There is only a little bit of analysis at the end, but mostly it’s just a great overview of the history of the country.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-09-2020

Butchered chinese pronunciations

Disappointing that for a book about the history of China, not one person in the production of this audiobook would have thought, ‘hey maybe we should find a reader who can pronounce the place and emperor names properly?’ Pretty shameful

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  • Matthew G. Towner
  • 12-08-2020

Nice overview

Hard to capture so much concisely but the author did. Great context for framing modern China’s rise. BUT if you are gonna have s book about China the reader should learn how to pronounce the names. It’s not rocket science. Take 20 minutes to figure it out

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-07-2021

FALSE ADVERTISING, highly misleading

Almost the exact opposite of what it claims to be. This is not history through Chinese eyes, or even an examination of historical memory in China. It is merely a history of China's dealings with foreigners -- "foreign policy" would be too generous. -- told more from an outside than a Chinese perspective. SKIP IT!!!

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  • sup
  • 30-12-2020

Incompetent narration is a shame...

Imagine listening to an audiobook about French history where the narrator butchers every French name in an exaggerated American accent - to the point where you stop and ask yourself whether this could possibly be a parody or an April Fools joke.

Unfortunately it's not a parody - and a decently good book on China is completely let down by the shoddy narration. I don't think the narrator needs to pronounce things perfectly. Just make it so that names aren't utterly butchered, which is not a high bar.

For a book that aims to explain China to a western audience this is a real shame.

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  • Joshua Carroll
  • 15-09-2021

“All Under Heaven”…

“All Under Heaven” is an Admirable, Aspirational, and Terrifying Goal for the CCP. Mr. Schuman lays out a basis for the various strategies being employed by the Chinese government - economic strangulation by One Belt, One Road, sharp power subversion of “Confucius Institutions”, military posturing and land grabbing in the South China Sea - all harken to hyperbole of dynastic greatness in China’s imperial past. The scary part is, as Schuman intimates in the closing chapter, is the attempt to unify “all under heaven” is not just a physical, geographic, or territorial aim of the CCP, but to lord over a vast kingdom economically and culturally. This may be the most comprehensive answer to the recent “great question” of the West: “What does China want?”

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  • Seo-Hyun Pan
  • 28-06-2021

Narrator doesn't speak Chinese

Very disappointing choice of the narrator, who does not speak Chinese and hence mispronounces basically all Chinese words in the book. Do not purchase unless you really need an audiobook to listen to.

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  • Jacob Thiessen
  • 11-04-2021

Those ignorant to history are doomed to repeat it

This was a fascinating book. The changes in dynasties mixed with foreign making is hard to keep up with, the ching to the ming, the wu, etc... but if you pay attention to the overall flow of Chinese history it's incredible how prevalent the confuscionist outlook still is in the PRC.

This book is worth a listen if you have any interest at all in understanding why China acts like China

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  • Rick G.
  • 31-03-2021

Still has a western tinge but at least they tried

While better focused on the Chinese perspective of historical events it still feels like a western view/interpretation of the Chinese view. Solid history though but did feel a bit rushed at the end as it covered this past century.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-07-2020

The narrator is good, but names in Chinese..

The narrator is very good, but his pronunciation of names in Chinese... needs to work on it for a next book about China

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