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An awe-inspiring, often hilarious, and unerringly honest story of one mother's exercise in extreme parenting, revealing the rewards--and the costs--of raising her children the Chinese way. All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. What Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reveals is that the Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that. Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chronicles Chua's iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, her way--the Chinese way--and the remarkable results her choice inspires. Here are some things Amy Chua would never allow her daughters to do: have a playdate, be in a school play, complain about not being in a school play, not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama, play any instrument other than the piano or violin, not play the piano or violin. The truth is Lulu and Sophia would never have had time for a playdate. They were too busy practicing their instruments (two to three hours a day and double sessions on the weekend) and perfecting their Mandarin. Of course no one is perfect, including Chua herself. Witness this scene: "According to Sophia, here are three things I actually said to her at the piano as I supervised her practicing: 1. Oh my God, you're just getting worse and worse. 2. I'm going to count to three, then I want musicality. 3. If the next time's not PERFECT, I'm going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!" But Chua demands as much of herself as she does of her daughters. And in her sacrifices--the exacting attention spent studying her daughters' performances, the office hours lost shuttling the girls to lessons--the depth of her love for her children becomes clear. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is an eye-opening exploration of the differences in Eastern and Western parenting--and the lessons parents and children everywhere teach one another.
In a little over two centuries, America has grown from a regional power to a superpower, and to what is today called a hyperpower. But can America retain its position as the world's dominant power, or has it already begun to decline? Historians have debated the rise and fall of empires for centuries. To date, however, no one has studied the far rarer phenomenon of hyperpowers--those few societies that amassed such extraordinary military and economic might that they essentially dominated the world. Now, in this sweeping history of globally dominant empires, bestselling author Amy Chua explains how hyperpowers rise and why they fall. In a series of brilliantly focused chapters, Chua examines history's hyperpowers--Persia, Rome, Tang China, the Mongols, the Dutch, the British, and the United States--and reveals the reasons behind their success, as well as the roots of their ultimate demise. Chua's unprecedented study reveals a fascinating historical pattern. For all their differences, she argues, every one of these world-dominant powers was, at least by the standards of its time, extraordinarily pluralistic and tolerant. Each one succeeded by harnessing the skills and energies of individuals from very different backgrounds, and by attracting and exploiting highly talented groups that were excluded in other societies. Thus Rome allowed Africans, Spaniards, and Gauls alike to rise to the highest echelons of power, while the "barbarian" Mongols conquered their vast domains only because they practiced an ethnic and religious tolerance unheard of in their time. In contrast, Nazi Germany and imperial Japan, while wielding great power, failed to attain global dominance as a direct result of their racial and religious intolerance. But Chua also uncovers a great historical irony: in virtually every instance, multicultural tolerance eventually sowed the seeds of decline, and diversity became a liability, triggering conflict, hatred, and violence. The United States is the quintessential example of a power that rose to global dominance through tolerance and diversity. The secret to America's success has always been its unsurpassed ability to attract enterprising immigrants. Today, however, concerns about outsourcing and uncontrolled illegal immigration are producing a backlash against our tradition of cultural openness. Has America finally reached a "tipping point"? Have we gone too far in the direction of diversity and tolerance to maintain cohesion and unity? Will we be overtaken by rising powers like China, the EU or even India? Chua shows why American power may have already exceeded its limits and why it may be in our interest to retreat from our go-it-alone approach and promote a new multilateralism in both domestic and foreign affairs.
The pursuit of free markets in the developing world tends to concentrate wealth in the hands of a minority, leading invariably to one of three forms of backlash, argues Chua (Yale Law School). Contrary to neoliberal orthodoxy, free markets and democracy do not necessarily coincide, she contends. She describes cases where the concentration of wealth among an "outsider" minority leads to an ethnically targeted anti-market backlash (Mugabe's Zimbabwe), an anti- democracy backlash favorable to the market-dominant minority (Marcos's Philippines), or violent backlash directed against the market-dominant minority itself (Rwanda). She argues for the promotion of market democracy, but cautions against an "unrestrained" approach. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
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