Cambria Press Publication Excerpt from “North Korea Demystified”

Cambria Press publication

Given the recent events, it would be timely to revisit North Korea Demystified. The book was published in at the end of 2012, but the advice of expert Professor Bruce Cumings in his chapter “North Korea––Dealing with Irrationality” still resonates with most, especially given the precarious state of world politics and the reputation of the leaders in place. Professor Cumings urges that we “finally to shed the anachronistic polarized positions and mindset of the Cold War and to move in the direction of a calm, steady, nuanced, and persistent process of rapprochement with Pyongyang.” He explains why in the publication excerpt below:

How do psychiatrists deal with an angry, violent, insulting, aggravating, recalcitrant, prideful, self-defeating patient? With concern, empathy, understanding, deflection, subtle advice (usually suggesting alternative behavior), the setting of limits on the one hand and the opening of avenues toward change on the other. Think of Tony Soprano and Jennifer Melfi: did she call him a fat, slovenly, self-indulgent, and self-regarding Mafia thug? No, she treated him like a human being in pain who needed help. China has long used a concept, zixiao, which is usually translated “cherishing friends from afar” (or “cherishing the lesser”), but it really means not sweating the small stuff when it comes to relations with allied or tributary states, or enemies who are not really threatening. It is a classic hegemonic device to show that the power that everyone recognizes as superior nonetheless shows concern and regard for the smaller or lesser party. English does not have a good equivalent to this (although magnanimity comes close), so its speakers use foreign phrases, like noblesse oblige.

North Korea

North Korea Demystified (Cambria Press, 2012)

Buy this book from Cambria Press today and use coupon code AAS2017 to save 30% on the hardcover version.

See also A New Strategy for Complex Warfare: Combined Effects in East Asia by Thomas A. Drohan

Asia Warfare


Cambria Press author Charlotte Furth (AAS 2017 speech)

Cambria Press author Charlotte Furth (University of Southern California) spoke about her new book Opening to China: A Memoir of Normalization, 1981–1982 at the Cambria Press  reception.

Watch Professor Charlotte Furth’s speech
at the Cambria Press reception

Cambria Press author Charlotte Furth publication Opening to China

Below is a transcript of Professor Charlotte Furth’s speech:

“Many of you here may not even remember what it was like to study China during the Cold War, when we could not go there.  But I began my teaching career in the mid-1960s, at its height.  PRC was hidden behind the Bamboo Curtain.  Taiwan and Hong Kong didn’t really count… You then can imagine  how we responded to Nixon’s visit to China in 1972.  Thrilled!  The decade that followed was one of  very tentative rapprochement and  limited travel, via delegations approved by PRC authorities.  Think  “socialist tourism”  two week guided tours, itineraries chosen by our hosts. .   Nonetheless, we all schemed to get a place on a delegation—and then we wondered what on earth we had seen (1970s were  the height of the cultural revolution as it turned out).

Then in 1979  President Carter negotiated full diplomatic relations.  Among the changes: a full  American diplomatic mission in Beijing, some Western journalists could be posted there, a few big banks set up shop, and the Fulbright program  of  international exchange of scholars and  teachers, suspended since 1950, was resumed.

And I wangled a year in Beijing as a Fulbright teacher.  Why and how the Chinese authorities choose a historian of China to teach young Chinese scholars about America is a curious story. The details are in the memoir, but it is one of many that show how uncertain PCR leaders were  about the new relationship between  us Americans and the Chinese—and also about the future direction of their own country.  My students weren’t ordinary university students: they were mostly young and a few middle-aged scholars— products of education in Mao’s China.  All one way or another had assignments to teach college-level English.  They came to Beijing from all over the nation.  Of course they were woefully unprepared: torn between curiosity about the outside world and anxiety about their own futures.  But their lives were an amazing window into the revolutions history.

So the memoir is the story of our mutual encounter.  I’d left my husband and daughter to embark on this adventure alone—and I wrote in detail about daily life in letters home—so  much detail that my husband complained that I didn’t seem to miss him. It was true…I knew the letters would be a record of an unusual experience..and I also knew when I came home in 1982 that I wasn’t ready to write about it all.  Thirty five years later, you have it. I am glad I  lived long enough to do this!”

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Based on Professor Furth’s detailed notes and letters home at the time, this book evokes the unique atmosphere of expectation and frustration that characterized the first years of normalization. This book is a valuable account for specialists on Sino-American relations and on the formative years of the generation of Chinese who lead the People’s Republic of China today. It is also a fascinating read for anyone who wants to explore the pleasures and perils of Chinese and American struggles to understand one another.

Title: Opening to China: A Memoir of Normalization, 1981–1982
Author: Charlotte Furth
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979848
158 pp.  |   2017   |   Paper & E-book
Book Webpage:

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United States Engagement in the Asia Pacific: Perspectives from Asia

Professors Yoichiro Sato and Tan See Seng’s recent book, United States Engagement in the Asia Pacific: Perspectives from Asia, has been praised by Professor Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large at Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Rector of Tembusu College, National University of Singapore, as being “an important book about an important subject.”


The following is an interview with Dr. Sato and Dr. Tan on some key questions which they cover in their book.

Why is it important for the US to consider these Asian perspectives on the pivot to Asia?
Sato & Tan: The Obama administration’s “Rebalance to Asia” strategy is more multilateral than any previous Asia strategy by the U.S. government. Not only U.S. relations with key allies, such as Japan, Australia, and South Korea, call for close consultations, but also the growing U.S. partnerships with new regional partners must be framed within the comfort zones of these partners.

Similarly, why is it important for China to do the same?
Sato & Tan: Asian countries are carefully observing progression of the U.S.-China relations. As the Obama administration carefully crafts a mix of economic and diplomatic engagement of and military deterrence against China, China’s reactions to this U.S. strategy shape Asian countries’ perceptions of China and their positioning of themselves in the emerging regional order.

Your book compares Cold War and post‐Cold War containment policies. Please tell us briefly what this comparative analysis revealed.
Sato & Tan: Geopolitical instincts of the United States as a major maritime power do play a role in the U.S. strategy through the two periods. At the same time, much closer U.S. economic interdependence with the whole of East Asia including China today necessitates that the United States balances its military security interests with economic interests for its own sake and for the sake of its regional allies and partners.

The book also discussed changes in China’s foreign policy. Could you please elaborate?
Sato & Tan:
China today is much more confident than two decades ago when its reformed economy was in an early stage of integration with East Asia and the United States. Deng Xiaoping’s strategy of keeping low foreign policy profile while focusing on export-led economic growth through continuous access to the U.S. market has been replaced by more assertive foreign policy as seen in the ongoing confrontations in the South China Sea.

Could you please tell us briefly what are some important points that we should take away from each of the country’s perspectives? Let’s start with Japan.
Sato & Tan: Japan, as the prime military ally of the United States and a major historical rival of China, is capable of asserting most influence upon the emerging U.S. strategy. Assuring U.S. commitment to the bilateral alliance is clearly Japan’s motivation for upgrading its own growing sharing of collective defense responsibilities.

What about Taiwan?
Sato & Tan:Taiwan’s satisfaction with its de facto (not de jure) independence needs symbolic U.S. commitment. “Balancing” of China’s threats with more tangible U.S. commitment may inadvertently trigger a more classical security dilemma for Taiwan, inviting aggressive PRC reactions.

Now what about Korea and DPRK?
Sato & Tan:
North Korean threat is an opportunity for the United States to enhance trilateral cooperation with Japan and South Korea, while not pointing a finger at China as a common enemy. China also sees the North Korean problem as an opportunity to win a diplomatic credit as a “responsible stakeholder” in regional security management. However, North Korea with its own internal difficulties at the time of leadership transition has not responded to the U.S. “Rebalance.” South Korea with its historical grievances against Japan has also been extremely cautious to sign up to the U.S.-proposed trilateralization.

Let’s move to the southeast now. What about Singapore?
Sato & Tan: The chapter on Singapore argues that Singapore has long viewed and continues to view the US as the “indispensable power” whose post-World War II role as the strategic guarantor and balancer in the Asia-Pacific remains as crucial, not least in the face of China’s rising power and influence. To that end, Singapore has pursued robust relations with the US short of a formal alliance. That said, the rebalancing strategy adopted the Obama administration, which Singapore welcomes, has complicated the latter’s ties with China.


And Vietnam?
Sato & Tan:
As the Vietnam chapter has detailed, Vietnam’s vexing dispute with China in the South China Sea (SCS) is complicating their long and complex ties. While the positive direction Vietnam-US ties is taking has its own logic and imperative, there is no question Hanoi’s SCS dispute with Beijing has driven Hanoi and Washington closer together. But this doesn’t necessarily mean Vietnam has chosen the US over China.

Now please tell us about Vietnam’s neighbor, Myanmar.
Sato & Tan: Under President Thein Sein, Myanmar, in the eyes of many, has evolved from a pariah state to a country seeking to liberalize, albeit fitfully. Its relations with the US have vastly improved. Like its CLV counterparts, Myanmar remains highly reliant on China economically, but of late has shown an incipient willingness to diversify. Its future ties with the US will be defined by how Myanmar handles its domestic political transition, its intra-ethnic conflicts, and its relations with China.


You also discuss India and Australia. Let’s talk about India first.
Sato & Tan: As the India chapter shows, Delhi’s positive relationship with Washington, underscored by their nuclear deal, should not be taken to mean India is bandwagoning with the US against China. Despite Mr. Modi’s radical credentials, he has surprised many with his deft diplomacy including strong engagement with the US. While India makes no bones about regarding China as a peer competitor, it nonetheless prefers to maintain strategic autonomy.

Now what about Australia?
Sato & Tan:
The Australia chapter reviewed the ongoing debate within Australian strategic circles regarding Canberra’s longstanding strategic dependence on the US, on one hand, and its economic cum diplomatic engagement with Asia on the other. Although Australia remains a key security ally of the US, the emergence of China as Australia’s top trading partner has led many to question the wisdom of continued reliance on the US, which could potentially lead Australia into an “entrapment trap.”

What are some general points you hope your readers take away?
Sato & Tan: Despite questions over the ability, resolve and even ethical behavior of the US as a global power, its importance to the Asia-Pacific cannot be denied.  China’s power and influence have elicited mixed reactions from its regional neighbors over its strategic ambition and assertive behavior. While US balancing has complicated things for Asian countries especially their relations with China, they’ve largely welcomed it, whether as a way to politically balance against China or to hedge against the big powers.


What words of advice would you give to the new president of the United States in 2016 regarding the US strategy towards Asia?
Sato & Tan: The US should continue to engage Asia in ways that contribute to the region’s stability, prosperity and security. It will likely have to accomplish this through accommodating China’s ambition and interests whilst encouraging the latter, with the aid of a strong normative and institutional framework, to behave responsibly.

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Yoichiro Sato is a professor at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University and is the director of the Democracy Promotion Center.

Tan See Seng is the deputy director of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, the founding head of the Centre for Multilateralism Studies, and Professor of International Relations at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.

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United States Engagement in the Asia Pacific: Perspectives from Asia
Yoichiro Sato and See Seng Tan
9781604979046 · 410pp. · Buy this book from Amazon
Recommend it to your library for purchase.

This book will be on display at the 2016 ISA conference in Atlanta and the AAS conference in Seattle.



Authors to Watch: Minghui Hu and Johan Elverskog

Cambria Press book publication author Asian Sinophone Victor Mair Johan Elverskog Minghui Hu

Cambria Press authors Professors Minghui Hu (University of California Santa Cruz) and Johan Elverskog (Southern Methodist University) are among the group of scholars who are making the bold exploration into historian Joseph Levenson’s observation that China used to be cosmopolitan on account of Confucianism. Levenson’s assertion was made at the height of the Cultural Revolution and the Cold War in 1971.

At that time, the notion of China, much less Confucianism, as somehow being cosmopolitan may have surprised many of his readers, especially because so many conventional ideas about China—ranging from its “kith and kin” social structure to its purportedly eternal and monolithic state structure—seem to reflect a society that was the very antithesis of cosmopolitanism.

Indeed, even now, or perhaps even more so now on account of growing Chinese nationalism, Han chauvinism, and global fears of a rising China, the idea of Chinese cosmopolitanism may strike many as ill conceived. This supposition is well borne out by the fact that one can largely search in vain the last four decades of scholarship on China to find again the three words China, Confucianism, and cosmopolitanism combined in any meaningful way. It is not only scholars of late imperial (or early modern) China who have failed to pursue Levenson’s idea; China is also woefully absent in the burgeoning scholarship in the movement known as the “new cosmopolitanism.”

But Levenson, according to Professors Hu and Elverskog, as with so much of his scholarship, was clearly on to something important. In fact, in the current academic climate it seems almost irresponsible not to address this. Their forthcoming volume, Cosmopolitanism in China, 1600-1950, is therefore a pioneering attempt to explore the implications and possibilities of Levenson’s potent observation regarding China in relation to the growing scholarship on cosmopolitanism around the world.

This book is part of the Cambria Sinophone World Series, led by Dr. Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania).

Cambria Press SInophone publication author book Cosmopolitan China Victor Mair

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#LASA2015 Highlight: Author Interview with Jedrek Mularski, author of Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America

#LASA2015 Highlight: Author Interview with Jedrek Mularski, author of Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America LatAm Cambria Press

#LASA2015 Highlight: Author Interview with Jedrek Mularski, author of Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America

The following is an interview with  Jedrek Mularski, author of Music, Politics, and Nationalism In Latin America: Chile During the Cold War Era:

Question: Why did you decide to write Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America?
Jedrek Mularski:
In addition to being a Latin American historian by profession, I have had a strong interest in music since I was very young. This research presented the opportunity for me to draw upon my background in both fields by examining the pivotal events of the Cold War era in Latin America through a musical lens.

Over the past few years, several fascinating new diplomatic and military histories have revealed that Cold War era conflicts in Latin America were multisided contests among various regional actors on the left and right of the political spectrum. However, these recent histories have not explored closely the question of whether this conceptualization of the Cold War era also applied to other areas of society. Seeking to deepen historical understanding of Latin America’s Cold War-era conflicts, I explored the music of the period. In doing so, I found a similarly complex web of local, national, and international actors who competed to shape popular culture and contributed significantly to the polarization of that time.

Question: How does your study relate to Chilean society and folk revival?
Jedrek Mularski:
The story that this book traces has particular significance in Chilean society, where a right-wing military coup overthrew democratically elected, socialist president Salvador Allende in 1973. Moreover, the history of Chilean folk-based music during the Cold War era is deeply intertwined both directly and indirectly with musical trends across and beyond Latin America. Folk revival movements outside of Chile played a significant role in shaping the course of folk revival within Chile. Subsequently, Chilean folk-based musicians played a central role in nurturing and advancing folk revivals both domestically and abroad. For those like myself who are interested in folk revival movements, I wanted to contribute to a broader understanding of folk revivals in Latin America and globally.

Question: What do you hope your readers take away from your book?
Jedrek Mularski:
It is my hope that readers will take away from this book an awareness of the very important histories of folk-based musicians such as Violeta Parra, Víctor Jara, Inti-Illimani, and Los Huasos Quincheros, as well as of the music that these musicians produced. I hope that readers will develop a broader understanding of how these musicians and their songs both reflected and catalyzed larger economic, political, and cultural processes. This book places musical production in the context of wider efforts by both the left and the right to shape popular culture and identity as important components of their political agendas.

At the same time, this book is about more than musicians, songs, and political agendas. It seeks also to answer the question of how the public received particular styles of music and what impact music had on members of the populace. The integration of political history, musical analysis, and oral histories with individuals from diverse segments of Chilean society makes this history of Chilean music unique. I hope that the book will give readers a deeper sense of the excitement and fears that individuals felt during the Cold War era, along with a stronger appreciation for the role that music can play in fostering emotion and shaping political behavior.

Question: Your book dispels certain myths. Please provide an example.
Jedrek Mularski: One of the key contributions of this book is that it provides a vivid analysis of how music can reflect and shape political beliefs, emotions, and behavior. Although excellent historical studies on the relationships between music and politics exist, historians often overlook music as an avenue of political analysis. For example, this book disproves the popular myth that Chilean conservatives “had no culture”; it demonstrates that many conservatives had deep, emotional attachments to a particular style of folk-based music that was central to their sense of identity. I believe that there are many more such histories to be told about music’s role in shaping politics around the world. It is important that such histories be uncovered and analyzed if we are to arrive at a more complete understanding of how popular political behavior functions.

Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America will be on display at the LASA congress next week.

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Yet Another Fantastic Journal Review for Shirley Hazzard: Literary Expatriate and Cosmopolitan Humanist!

Cambria Press congratulates Brigitta Olubas on the outstanding review by JASAL on her book Shirley Hazzard: Literary Expatriate and Cosmopolitan Humanist, which reinforces what an important book this is for scholars in contemporary literature.

Already hailed for being “scrupulously scholarly” in another review, JASAL praises the book because it “demonstrates what a gift intelligent, passionately engaged and theoretically attuned literary criticism can be.” The review also lauds the work because “Olubas helps us to grasp the warp and weft of Hazzard’s ethical concerns, channelled through her commitment to the word and to her art, in her historical context and development over time. She shows us how these threads are intricately woven together, at every stage, in the realisation of what now appears as an astonishingly imaginative fictional universe, one that also makes its urgent address to the concerns of the contemporary world.”

This book is in the Cambria Studies in Australian Literature, headed by Dr. Susan Lever, author of David Foster: The Satirist of Australia.

Cambria Press Book Review

Cambria Press Book Review: Shirley Hazzard

Recommend this Cambria Press book with so many excellent reviews to your library today!

There are also affordable Cambria Press e-book versions of this title for those who like easy access to it on their Kindle, iPad, Nook, and other e-readers.

Professors, if you would like to use this for your class, refer your librarian to the Cambria Press Desk Copy Plus Program that helps you get free versions for your students!

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Brilliant Book Review for Shirley Hazzard: Literary Expatriate and Cosmopolitan Humanist!

Cambria Press congratulates Dr. Brigitta Olubas on yet another fabulous review on her highly praised book Shirley Hazzard: Literary Expatriate and Cosmopolitan Humanist!

The journal Contemporary Women’s Writing praises the book, stating that:

“To read Brigitta Olubas’s Shirley Hazzard: Literary Expatriate and Cosmopolitan Humanist must be to have something like the experience of the readers of feminist recovery projects in the 1970s … As the first book on Hazzard, Olubas’s monograph makes an important contribution to contemporary literary scholarship. Yet the book’s achievement far exceeds its initiatory work … will certainly be of interest to scholars of contemporary Australian literature, new modernist studies, and gender studies. But both Hazzard and Olubas’s monograph on her are out of bounds – in the best sense. This book extends far beyond any national, aesthetic, or ideological disciplinary categories. Like Hazzard, it should travel far.”

The book has also been hailed as being “scrupulously scholarly” by The Australian––read more at the Cambria Press blog post about it––and is in the Cambria Press Australian Literature Series headed by Dr. Susan Lever, author of the highly acclaimed book David Foster: The Satirist of Australia. Not surprisingly, the book was also very well received at the 2013 MLA Cambria Press book exhibit.

Cambria Press Book Review: Shirley Hazzard

Cambria Press Book Review: Shirley Hazzard

This book can be seen at the Cambria Press booth at the next International Studies Association (ISA) convention in San Francisco in April.

Recommend this Cambria Press book today! There are affordable Cambria Press e-book versions of this title. Professors, if you would like to use this for your class, refer your librarian to the Cambria Press Desk Copy Plus Program that helps you get free versions for your students!

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