I was an East Asian Studies Major at UCLA. I studied a little more than the average Joe on China. Of course not as much as a professor, but I’m also a human who’s not steeped in crappy educational circle jerks, ass kissing, and fake intelligentsia, which in the end does nothing to the world outside of the educational system. Many professors don’t influence much, truly teach little, and are jaded.
Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China is a book written by Ezra Vogel, it’s 800 pages about Deng Xiaoping, the leader of China from the 80s to the 90s. As a student, he was the man in charge of a pre-superpower, post Mao land that was Communist, poor, and struggling to make a mark while sticking to it’s beliefs. I’m rusty on my knowledge of Deng, who of course has criticisms of his life, but a 800+ page biography, isn’t really built to be critical about a person. If so, why write a bio? So the review article in the NY Times has this passage:
The political scientist Richard Baum, a professor emeritus at University of California, Los Angeles, said the book offered an enormous amount of new material about Deng’s leadership and internal power struggles in China during the ’70s. But he also said that those achievements were mildly diminished by sections that read like “an uncritical paean to Deng’s character.”
Lame Richard Baum. Yes, I took a class by this man. He graded overly difficult, didn’t seem to care, and was jaded. He gets a chance to say something about a book and ends up being a jerk. You won’t see me doing this too much here, but this is one of those times. (NY Times – Deng Xiaoping)