At the Edge of Empire

Edward Wong


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Profile Books Ltd
27 June 2024
ISBN: 9781788162654
464 pages

From the publisher

The essential history of modern China, told through the story of one family

'A brilliant personal account of China's borderlands and peoples' Francis Fukuyama

'A splendid journey through eighty years of Chinese history ... Edward Wong is about as knowledgeable a guide to China as a reader could ever hope to find' Barbara Demick

The son of Chinese immigrants in Washington, DC, Edward Wong grew up among family secrets. His father toiled in restaurants and rarely spoke of his native land or his years in the People's Liberation Army under Mao. Yook Kearn Wong came of age during the Japanese occupation in World War II and the Communist revolution, when he fell under the spell of Mao's promise of a powerful China. His astonishing journey as a soldier took him from Manchuria during the Korean War to Xinjiang on the Central Asian frontier. In 1962, disillusioned with the Communist Party, he planned a desperate escape to Hong Kong.

When Edward Wong became the Beijing bureau chief for The New York Times, he investigated his father's mysterious past while assessing for himself the dream of a resurgent China. He met the citizens driving the nation's astounding economic boom and global expansion - and grappling with the vortex of nationalistic rule under Xi Jinping, the most powerful leader since Mao. Following in his father's footsteps, he witnessed protests and civil rights struggles in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong. And he had an insider's view of the world's two superpowers meeting at a perilous crossroads.

Wong tells a moving chronicle of a family and a nation that spans nearly a century of momentous change and gives profound insight into a new authoritarian age transforming the world. A groundbreaking book, At the Edge of Empire is the essential work for understanding China today.