“Why have China’s promising “southern initiatives” unraveled so disastrously since 2009? The biggest single cause of conflict is Beijing’s bullying and dubious claim to the South China Sea, which it believes is home to untapped oil and gas reserves. Beijing’s attempts to manipulate the weakest members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to support its position within regional meetings have backfired spectacularly.”  (in the China Economic Quarterly, June 2013 issue)

In Restless Empire, Odd Arne Westad (London School of Economics) approaches an often told story from a foreign policy perspective, demonstrating the central importance of outside influences—in ideas, commerce, and technology—to China’s mercurial modernization in the past two centuries. (read full review in the Michigan War Studies Review)

When the Chinese look at Chinese-run states elsewhere, it is not far-fetched for them to conclude that theirs is a chaotic state, with a predatory market system and rules that change on the whim of the government. That is why, O.A. Westad writes in “Restless Empire,” Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan are likely to have an outsized impact on China’s future. (read full article in The Globalist)

“Understanding China’s cultural, commercial and diplomatic relationships to the U.S. and the rest of the world is an important task. That’s why this book is so useful. For China, perhaps more than any other country, understanding its past is key to understanding its present and future…. Westad constructs his narrative from sources that include other scholarship, personal anecdotes and primary research, but with an accessible style. Restless Empire is a great example of macro-history written for the general reader.” (The Charleston Post & Courier)

OA Westad’s recent interview on China in the Jakarta Post.

Odd Arne Westad, author of Restless Empire, was recently named one of the LSDP top 100 Global Thinkers of 2012.

Restless Empire was named one of the best books of 2012 by the Financial Times and one of the best history books of 2012 by The Guardian.

“[A] wonderful book…. Westad upends, but ever so politely, a slew of misconceptions about China that have been concocted by his academic predecessors both in the West and in Asia…. [He shows] that the foreigners’ story in China is not the monochromatic account of malevolent imperialism that has dominated the discourse in U.S. universities but a much richer and more important tale. The brilliance of Restless Empire is that while acknowledging the threat to China inherent in its contacts with the West and Japan, Westad also shows that they inspired and amazed the Chinese and played the critical role in the opening of the Chinese mind.” (The Washington Post)

Restless Empire is a fascinating book and a pleasure to read. As well as providing a historical framework for understanding the behavior of modern China, it is full of interesting details and insights…. Amid the anecdotes and the broad historical narrative, Westad also offers pointed reassessments of particular episodes in Chinese history…. The restless reader may want to know what all this history tells us about the modern day. Westad places current developments in an interesting historical perspective.” (Financial Times review)

Kristin Rawls listed Restless Empire among the books she wishes Obama and Romney would read.  (The Christian Science Monitor)

OA Westad talks about Restless Empire on China Daily (Europe).

Prof. Westad explains why “The Sino-Indian rivalry will probably intensify” in his latest interview on OutlookIndia.com

The transcript, audio and video of Arne Westad’s presentation of Restless Empire at the Carnegie Council in New York in now available here.

On a recent interview with Asia Society’s China File, Prof. Westad talks about Restless Empire, the larger contextual framework, and the key arguments of this new book (please click here for access to video interview).  

The latest review from eHistory“Westad grounds his narrative on mastery of a vast body of scholarship both in Chinese and English, as well as on the comparative reading of archival materials collected in China, Russia, United States, and United Kingdom. Autobiographies, memoirs, diaries, oral narratives, and literature in China, Japan, Korea, India,Germany, Cuba, etc., enrich the story with diverse textures…. Within 11 chapters, Restless Empire lets us sail through the past 250 years, a period when Chinabecame globalized and modernized with expansive information and insightful observations…. [A] thorough, comprehensive, and lucid narrative that reliably measures the pulse of China’s foreign contacts over the [last] two and half centuries.” (eHistory – for the full review, please click here)

 Public Lecture & Book Launch

Thursday, November 1st

6.30 PM

The Old Theatre, LSE Campus

“Written by one of the most distinguished scholars on China, this book brings clarity and insight into complex historical issues.” Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans and co-author of Mao: The Unknown Story



UK Edition             US Edition


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