Naval War College Review


Charles Horner


The Norwegian historian Odd Arne Westad, in this well-written history of China over the past 250 years, tells the story from a broad global perspective. His approach tracks that of his earlier works on the Cold War, where he placed a binational rivalry into a larger world context. Similarly in this work, he sees the principal driver of China’s modern experience as relentless internationalization. However, China is more than just a country. It is, as Lucien Pye once de- scribed it, “a civilization-state, pretending to be a nation-state.” Imperial in every respect, it pushed out, and the world has pushed back, powerfully, since 1750.