Summary of America's Response to China

A History of Sino-American Relations

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America's Response to China book summary
From quasicolonialism to Clinton: A detailed history of Sino-U.S. relations through the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries


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Foreign relations historian Warren I. Cohen does a masterly job of condensing more than 200 years of Sino-American history (up to the Clinton administration, so not including today’s complex fiscal ties) into a brief, readable book. For the most part, his approach is factual and reportorial – Cohen avoids grand sweeps of theory and interpretation. However, to the untrained eye, this book may seem quite confusing: Cohen uses the Wade-Giles system of romanizing Chinese characters, rather than the more familiar pinyin system, and his organization of historic material is only very roughly chronological. Readers will nonetheless acquire a strong sense of the important themes, the major evolutionary stages and the prominent figures involved in the development of Sino-U.S. relations. getAbstract recommends this retrospective account to anyone with a professional, non-academic interest in the history of America’s relationship with China.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Sino-U.S. relations developed from the 18th century to the end of the 20th century
  • What historic antecedents set up their 20th century relationship
  • Why that relationship was both fragile and necessary


Paying Tribute
Even before Britain’s North American colonies gained their independence, America was a good market for Chinese furniture, porcelain, wallpaper and other products. The Boston Tea Party unfolded when patriots dumped tons of tea from Amoy, China, into the waters of Boston Harbor...
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About the Author

Warren I. Cohen is an historian of America’s foreign relations. He specializes in U.S. relations with East Asia.

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