Packshot of Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China

Evan Osnos (Author)

Some may think this is simply a reference book about China but, it deftly lifts the lid on modern Chinese society and how corrupt it really is. My wife became cheesed off with my frequently drawn in breath as yet another revelation informs us as to the amount of corruption endemic in the most populated nation in the world. Although the book is crammed full of factual evidence of crimes, it tells it in a very easy to absorb way, the author and his American media career have conspired to make a smoothly interesting book.


It beggars belief that such a populated nation has such a disparity between the rich and poor, how the government strives to suppress Internet commentary by those that are trying to make the West see the way it is. The CCTV camera's, the police, the political threats, the imprisonments, the murders and so on, very scary stuff that should belong in story books instead of reality.
The phenomenal amount of 'accidental' mishaps that often prove to be because of bribed contracts being multi-layered until eventually, the serious work is done by untrained, unskilled people and, it then breaks down catastrophically. The recent high speed rail disaster, bridges collapsing, shoddy buildings falling like cards in an earthquake, then we get the lack of response from the government, some are still waiting for aid from the 1976 quake let alone the 2008 one...
I find modern day China a strange anomaly in the global scheme, whilst other countries laud them amid grandiose, fiscal and contractual endeavours, the true reflection is light years away from the public perception. I love reading 'expose' books like this, anyone who has an interest in how 'not' to do something properly and honestly, could do well to read this book. It encourages discussion between people because of the wide differential between what is briefly told to us after heavy censorship and, what is the harsh reality in human costs. I cannot praise the author enough, a very good book about a subject most people usually find dull and uninteresting. For example, if this review was made in China I could expect a knock on my door in the middle of the night..... !!

Reviewed by: Reg Seward - Leiston

Personal read:

Group read:

Publisher: Bodley Head


Published Date: Thu 26th Jun 2014

Format: Hardback

« Back to Reviews