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3 New Books That Will Help You Gain a Deeper Understanding of India and China

It’s getting harder to ignore them.

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BY Glenn Leibowitz - 01 Dec 2018

Deeper Understanding of India and China

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

China and India are the two biggest nations on earth, with a combined population of more than 2.7 billion people. They are also two of the least well-understood countries outside of Asia.

Given their growing economic clout--China is the second largest economy in the world, India the sixth largest--and their growing global influence, anyone who follows geopolitical events and economic trends should invest more time in understanding these important markets.

While there are hundreds of books you can choose from, I’ve selected just three that I’ve read over the past year: One on India and two on China. These books don’t pretend to be comprehensive. They do, however, offer a deeper look into a few important aspects of the history, politics, and economics of these two powerful nations.

The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age, James Crabtree

James Crabtree is the former Mumbai bureau chief for The Financial Times and the author of The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age. The Billionaire Raj charts the emergence of the new billionaire class behind India’s rapid economic rise. In this eloquently written page-turner, James combines on-the-ground reporting, rigorous economic research, and vivid storytelling as he brings to life the fascinating yet not very widely-known tale behind the world’s second most populous nation.

The Billionaire Raj has received several prestigious awards, including being named recently by Amazon as one of the 100 best books of 2018.

One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment, Mei Fong

Mei Fong is a journalist with more than a decade of reporting in Asia, most recently as China correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.

Her stories on China’s transformative process in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics formed part of the package that won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, an honor she shared with her colleagues at the Journal.

Last year she published her first book, One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment. The book recounts the history and after-effects of China’s one-child policy, the country’s longest-running and most radical social experiment.

Hong Kong on the Brink: An American Diplomat Relives 1967’s Darkest Days, Syd Goldsmith

In 1967, Syd Goldsmith was an American diplomat stationed in the American Consulate General in Hong Kong. This was an extraordinary moment in history: China was in the grip of the Cultural Revolution, which was rapidly spilling over into Hong Kong. In his book, Hong Kong on the Brink, Syd gives us an armchair view of his life and work as a diplomat at the center of a dangerous political storm. The South China Morning Post called it “an informative, engaging read filled with vivid historical detail.”

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