The need to understand China has never been more pressing.
The global giant is constantly in the news, yet conflicting impressions abound. Within one generation China has transformed from an impoverished, repressive state into an economic and political powerhouse.
China expert Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom provides answers to the most urgent questions regarding this newest superpower in a discussion of his new book China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W.10th St.
Focusing his answers through the historical legacies that largely define China's present-day trajectory -- Western and Japanese imperialism, the Mao era, and Tiananmen Square -- Wasserstrom introduces us to the Chinese Communist Party, the building boom in Shanghai, and the environmental fallout of rapid Chinese industrialization.
He also explains unique aspects of Chinese culture such as the one-child policy and provides insight into how Chinese view Americans.
Finally, he provides guidance on the ways we can expect China to act in the future vis-à-vis the United States, Russia, India, and its East Asian neighbors.
Wasserstrom is Chancellor's Professor of History at the University of California -- Irvine. His previous books include Global Shanghai and China's Brave New World.
This event is co-sponsored by the Edgar Snow Memorial Foundation and the Kansas City Chinese American Association.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore. RSVP at kclibrary.org  or call 816.701.3407.