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John Pomfret

Mission Memorial Auditorium , 11 a.m. Sunday May 7

John Pomfret is an award-winning journalist and writer who has divided his time between the US, China, Europe, Africa and the Middle East since the 1980s. He was one of the first American students to study in China following the Sino-American rapprochement and he has been a correspondent in China for the Associated Press and The Washington Post, in the late 1980s the late 1990s and the early 2000s. He has won numerous journalism awards for his work in China and in Washington. For the past five years, John has devoted himself to the first narrative history of America’s relationship with China from the 18th century until the present day. The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present was published on Nov. 29, 2016 to critical acclaim. John is the author of the 2006 best-seller, Chinese Lessons: Five Classmates and the Story of the New China.

John has also spent eight years covering wars and revolutions from Afghanistan, to Bosnia, to Congo. John was most recently a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Beijing. He currently lives outside of San Francisco.


John Pomfret has given us the most encompassing, vivid, and fair-minded account of the world’s most important diplomatic relationship, with a warning on the risk of getting it wrong and a belief in the ability to get it right. A triumph of writing, research, and, above all, judgment.
-- Evan Osnos, National Book Award-winning author of Age of Ambition

For more than two centuries China and the US have been locked in tight embrace. Goods, ideals, hopes and delusions have shuttled back and forth, ferried by a host of eccentric and strong-willed characters. With deep research and vivid writing, John Pomfret brings this rich story to life, and shows us both sides of one of the world’s most fruitful and important relationships.
-- Arthur R. Kroeber, author of China’s Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know and Editor, China Economic Quarterly

This is the best single book on the two-century-old history of Sino-American relations. Pomfret tells this colorful story through intriguing tales of individuals—Americans, Chinese, and Chinese-Americans. At the same time, he ably explains the transformations, tensions, and tragedies that have defined governmental ties. Pomfret has researched with care and weighed various interpretations with a keen eye and deft touch.
-- Robert B. Zoellick, Former President of the World Bank, US Trade Representative, and US Deputy Secretary of State

…[a] timely and comprehensively informative book…The coming trouble—if trouble it is to be—will be confusing, alarming, protracted and full of subtleties. This weighty history by [John Pomfret], while not offering itself as a vade mecum for dealing with the slow-gathering storm, provides an exhaustive collection of names, dates and historical markers to show just how we reached this place, the jumping-off point for the coming decades of what men of menace like to term "interesting times."
-- Simon Winchester, The New York Times Book Review


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