Synopses & Reviews
From the former Financial Times
Beijing bureau chief, a balanced and far-seeing analysis of the emerging competition between China and the United States that will dominate twenty-first-century world affairs — an inside account of Beijing’s quest for influence and an explanation of how America can come out on top.
The structure of global politics is shifting rapidly. After decades of rising, China has entered a new and critical phase where it seeks to turn its economic heft into global power. In this deeply informed book, Geoff Dyer makes a lucid and convincing argument that China and the United States are now embarking on a great power-style competition that will dominate the century. This contest will take place in every arena: from control of the seas, where China’s new navy is trying to ease the United States out of Asia and reassert its traditional leadership, to rewriting the rules of the global economy, with attempts to turn the renminbi into the predominant international currency, toppling the dominance of the U.S. dollar. And by investing billions to send its media groups overseas, Beijing hopes to shift the global debate about democracy and individual rights. Eyeing the high ground of international politics, China is taking the first steps in an ambitious global agenda.
Yet Dyer explains how China will struggle to unseat the United States. China’s new ambitions are provoking intense anxiety, especially in Asia, while America’s global influence has deep roots. If Washington can adjust to a world in which it is no longer dominant but still immensely powerful, it can withstand China’s challenge. With keen insight based on a deep local knowledge — offering the reader visions of coastal Chinese beauty pageants and secret submarine bases, lockstep Beijing military parades and the neon media screens of Xinhua exported to New York City’s Times Square — The Contest of the Century is essential reading at a time of great uncertainty about America’s future, a road map for retaining a central role in the world.
“[I]lluminating...Dyer’s lively prose, vivid reportage, and long experience reporting on the country really shine, making this one of the most lucid, readable, and insightful of the current rise-of-China studies.” Publishers Weekly
“The Contest of the Century is a perfect antidote to all the noise that passes for journalism these days. Here is a seasoned foreign correspondent calmly taking the measure of Asia's pivotal giant.” Robert D. Kaplan, author of The Revenge of Geography
“A colorful and compelling read that offers three crucial insights. America’s relationship with China will define the 21st century. Their relations will be far more subtle and dynamic than post-Cold War conventional wisdom suggests. There is nothing inevitable about either China’s rise or the outcome of the two countries’ competition. This is a fascinating story from an experienced journalist who knows how to tell it.” Ian Bremmer, author of Every Nation for Itself
About the Author
Geoff Dyer is a journalist for the Financial Times and has been a correspondent in China, the United States, and Brazil. He is the recipient of a Fulbright award and of several journalism awards, including a Society of Publishers in Asia award for a series of opinion pieces about China’s role in the world in 2010. He studied at Cambridge University and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He lives with his family in Washington, D.C.