Book News: DR Show Podcast, 'Economist' Review, Live Chat Text

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As mentioned earlier, soon I'll have a standalone page on our site for info related to my new book China Airborne. For the moment, I'm putting it here.

1) Diane Rehm show podcast. I enjoyed being on Diane Rehm's show two days ago, and the podcast of that hour is here.

2) Economist review. Given my somewhat stormy relationship with the Economist over the decades, I was grateful for a very fair and generous-toned review in the magazine yesterday. Its one point of criticism may reflect a misunderstanding. The magazine's reviewer suggest that I go too far in using aerospace success as a proxy for China's larger maturity and sophistication. Eg:

After all, Switzerland and Costa Rica became robust democracies with flourishing economies without developing jet engines. And the Soviet Union managed a world-class space programme, yet was an economic and political basket case.

My point is a little different. Not every fully mature, high-value economy will have an important aerospace component. Reasons of scale, or history, or comparative advantage can make this unrealistic or undesirable. South Korea is better example of that point, or Australia, than Switzerland, since Switzerland in fact plays a significant role in world aerospace, as do many other European countries. Rather I was arguing the proposition from the other end: if a country decides, as China clearly has, that it wants to be a player in modern commercial aviation, success in that realm depends on a variety of traits that the Chinese economy has yet to display. (I also explain why a space program, like the old Soviet Union's, is "easier" for a country like China to pull off than entering the Boeing/Airbus league.)

Still, my thanks to whoever wrote the review.

3) Yesterday I did an hour-long "live chat" on the Atlantic's site. The transcript is here. Thanks to all for questions. My main discovery: typing as fast as you can for an hour wears out your fingers, and pretty much drains out your brain.

Presented by

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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