There are three problems with When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order by Guardian columnist Martin Jacques. The first is the title and its two central theses. The second is its length – at 435 pages before you even reach the appendix, bibliography, and end notes, it is quite a tome. And the third is the amount of economic minutiae into which the book dwells to try to prove its absurd point.

This is by no means a light read for a Sunday afternoon or for the flight from Washington to Beijing. Even for die hard historians, economists, political scientists and other academic types, this book is heavy going. Unless you enjoy picking through economic data and mulling over the meaning of the “nation-state” in Western and Eastern philosophy there are probably better books to be read.

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