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ST news editor Peh Shing Huei's bestseller on China's rise now on sale as e-book for Kindle

Published on Sep 4, 2014 11:36 AM
 
The book draws on author Peh Shing Huei's experience as ST's China bureau chief. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

A bestseller on China's tumultuous rise has made a digital leap forward. When The Party Ends: China's Leaps And Stumbles After The Beijing Olympics, by Straits Times news editor Peh Shing Huei, is now available as an e-book on Kindle.

The 320-page book took off after its launch last November, ranking among the top 10 non-fiction bestsellers at Kinokuniya and Times bookstores.

Starting today, it is available on Kindle at Amazon.com and stpressbooks.com.sg for US$9.90 (S$12.40).

The vivid account of China's meteoric rise - and the simmering tensions behind it - draws on Mr Peh's experience as The Straits Times' China bureau chief, based in Beijing.

Mirroring his time there, the book opens with the Sichuan earthquake three months before the 2008 Olympic Games and closes with the dramatic fall of Bo Xilai in 2012.

Alongside a tale of economic growth and political intrigue are lesser-told stories of persecuted activists and the ghosts of the Cultural Revolution. The book draws on interviews not just of scholars and politicians, but also dissidents and ordinary Chinese.

The book, published by Straits Times Press, has been praised by China watchers worldwide.

Calling it a "valuable and important new book", journalist Tom Plate wrote: "The quality of his journalism cannot be challenged. He nails down each and every misstep, scandal and palace intrigue with solid reporting."

Historian Jeffrey Wasserstrom put it on a list of 12 books on China to buy.

On the Los Angeles Review of Books blog, he wrote: "It should appeal to readers fascinated by elite politics, and its author... knows when and how to enliven top-down views of China with human interest stories and engaging personal touches."

It also made the reading list of Professor Jeff Kingston of Tokyo's Temple University, who wrote in The Japan Times: "In his colourful, fast-paced analysis of what he calls the 'steroid superpower', the author raises important questions about the sustainability of what he dubs 'market Leninism' and the Communist Party's capacity to take China to the next stage."

With the e-book's launch, the work can reach a wider audience.

Mr Peh, 39, said: "There has been strong interest overseas since the book was launched, but many have been unable to get a copy of it."

Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez said: "By making the book available for download online, we hope to bring his insightful analysis of the country and vivid storytelling to a global audience."

This is the second book by Mr Peh, a graduate of New York's Columbia University and the National University of Singapore.

His first, for which he was a co-author, was Struck By Lightning, a collection of essays on Singapore politics published in 2006.

janiceh@sph.com.sg

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