The World Turned Upside Down America, China, and the Struggle for Global Leadership Clyde Prestowitz

Publication date:
23 Feb 2021
Yale University Press
344 pages: 235 x 156 x 24mm
1 b-w illus.
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An authority on Asia and globalization identifies the challenges China’s growing power poses and how it must be confronted

"Timely and thought-provoking. . . . An unsparing analysis of how Washington's elite fell into the grip of their China delusion."—James Kynge, Financial Times

"Prestowitz doesn’t just point out problems; he offers a detailed, 25-page 'Plan for America.' An excellent comprehensive study from an expert on the subject."—Kirkus, Starred Review

When China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, most experts expected the WTO rules and procedures to liberalize China and make it “a responsible stakeholder in the liberal world order.” But the experts made the wrong bet. China today is liberalizing neither economically nor politically but, if anything, becoming more authoritarian and mercantilist.
In this book, notably free of partisan posturing and inflammatory rhetoric, renowned globalization and Asia expert Clyde Prestowitz describes the key challenges posed by China and the strategies America and the Free World must adopt to meet them. He argues that these must be more sophisticated and more comprehensive than a narrowly targeted trade war. Rather, he urges strategies that the United States and its allies can use unilaterally without contravening international or domestic law.

Clyde Prestowitz has worked on Asia and globalization for fifty years and has written several bestselling books on these subjects. He was a leader of the first U.S. trade mission to China in 1982 and is a veteran U.S. trade negotiator and presidential advisor.

"Timely and thought-provoking...refreshing... Prestowitz provides an unsparing analysis of how Washington's elite fell into the grip of their China delusion."—James Kynge, Financial Times

“A much needed counterpoint to the air of complacency that surrounds much writing about China. Prestowitz's suggestions about what measures America and other countries should now take are worth the price of the book alone.”—Matthew Partridge, Money Week ‘Book of the Week’

“Proposes a lengthy list of new measures and institutions designed to restore the United States to economic independence and predominance”—Niall Ferguson, Times Literary Supplement


“Raises such thought provoking questions with a sense of urgency, provides a novel and fair comparative analysis and suggests possible proactive measures to protect western allies’ interests. This book is a welcome clarion call for western nation states to consider the most productive, constructive ways in which they might coexist with a rising China...It deserves a wide audience.”—Christopher Ruane, Asian Affairs

"Clyde Prestowitz presents the most comprehensive and practical plan yet to meet the Chinese Communist Party’s grave challenge to the United States."—Dennis Blair, former Director of National Intelligence

"In The World Turned Upside Down, Clyde Prestowitz, who led the way in describing how a country like Japan can skew the world trading system, powerfully addresses the biggest problem of all: China. A perfect match of author and subject."—James Mann, author of The China Fantasy

“How did America and other advanced democracies find themselves increasingly beholden to the Chinese Communist Party? Seasoned Asia hand Clyde Prestowitz’ wide-ranging exposé unpacks the long road to this current disturbing reality, while offering a sober and sensible blueprint for pushing back against the PRC’s malign activities in the US and around the world.”—David Shambaugh, author of Where Great Powers Meet: America & China in Southeast Asia

"This book lucidly describes the economic and diplomatic misconceptions that have shaped our China policy. It then lays out many ways that we can act to prevent Chinese hegemony."—Ralph Gomory, President Emeritus, Sloan Foundation, former Chief Scientist, IBM

“Many books have described what China is, where it is going and where it comes from. What makes this book unique is Prestowitz’s detailed prescription for how the US should change to face China.  Every political, academic and business leader who cares about democracy and the free world should read this book and follow its advice. “—Alberto Forchielli, Chairman and CEO of Mandarin Capital