'The Chinese Dream' and the Complexities of China's Ascent

ChinaAirborneFrontCoverSmall.pngThis morning, the Atlantic put up a second excerpt of my China Airborne book, as part of our China Takes Off special coverage this month. For the record, Popular Science also has an excerpt (on how Chinese and American officials are trying to make aerospace part of China's "clean energy" drive), and an adaptation is coming shortly in Wired. The marketing part of my brain feels obliged to point out that all the excerpts together represent about 15% of the book, and that zero % of the book appeared as previous Atlantic articles (ie, not a compendium).

I am grateful for the pairing of these two Atlantic online excerpts, because they suggest the range of what I was trying to do. The first part was an adventure story, illustrating how I learned about one part of China's pell-mell drive for all-fronts technological success. Today's second part is an illustration of the "what it all means" work I am trying simultaneously to do. FYI.

Just because I like this photo, here is a picture from the second trip I took in Asia with Peter Claeys, in his Cirrus SR-22. This was in the fall of 2007, a year after our eventful flight within China from Changsha to Zhuhai. This was soon after dawn, on a broken-cloud day at the small Honda airport, in Saitama prefecture outside Tokyo. That is Peter Claeys, in silhouette, walking across the grassy tiedown area to the airplane in which he and I will fly down to Okinawa, and thence to Taipei. More photos from that flight are here.

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And here is the kind of thing we saw out the window en route:


And, Tokyo through a thin layer of cloud:

I will try to keep marketing info to an informative-but-short-of-intrusive level. FWIW tomorrow, May 10, I'll be on the Diane Rehm show at 11am talking about my book and China.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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