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Publisher's Summary

Over the last decade, the center of world power has been quietly shifting from Europe to Asia. With oil reserves of several billion barrels, an estimated 900 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and several centuries' worth of competing territorial claims, the South China Sea in particular is a simmering pot of potential conflict. The underreported military buildup in the area where the Western Pacific meets the Indian Ocean means that it will likely be a hinge point for global war and peace for the foreseeable future.
In Asia's Cauldron, Robert D. Kaplan offers up a vivid snapshot of the nations surrounding the South China Sea, the conflicts brewing in the region at the dawn of the 21st century, and their implications for global peace and stability.
To understand the future of conflict in East Asia, Kaplan argues, one must understand the goals and motivations of its leaders and its people. Part travelogue, part geopolitical primer, Asia's Cauldron takes us on a journey through the region's boom cities and ramshackle slums: From Vietnam, where the superfueled capitalism of the erstwhile colonial capital, Saigon, inspires the geostrategic pretensions of the official seat of government in Hanoi, to Malaysia, where a unique mix of authoritarian Islam and Western-style consumerism creates quite possibly the ultimate postmodern society; and from Singapore, whose "benevolent autocracy" helped foster an economic miracle, to the Philippines, where a different brand of authoritarianism under Ferdinand Marcos led not to economic growth but to decades of corruption and crime.
At a time when every day's news seems to contain some new story - large or small - that directly relates to conflicts over the South China Sea, Asia's Cauldron is an indispensable guide to a corner of the globe that will affect all of our lives for years to come.
©2014 Robert D. Kaplan (P)2014 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"A riveting, multitextured look at an underexamined region of the world and, perhaps, at the 'anxious, complicated world' of the future." ( Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Christopher on 05-30-14

Biggest Challenge for US in Next 50 Years

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is a really well written and presented analysis of the very complex topic of the strategic challenge to US power posed by the South China Sea and the countries which surround it. Informed by a large number of in-person interviews with strategic participants it is one of the very few "current affairs" type books that is a truly absorbing read.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The discussions of the roles of Lee Kuan Yu and Chiang Kai Shek in creating the current East Asia. Both descriptions were very insightful and informative.

Have you listened to any of Michael Prichard’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the first one. It is excellent even at 1.25x.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"The Coming Storm"

Any additional comments?

Would really love to meet Mr. Kaplan in person some day. He bring deep historical knowledge to current affairs. Really wonderful book!

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By John S. on 11-24-14

Not exactly general interest reading

Seems my ancient degree in International Relations really paid off here! Those without a very strong interest in foreign relations would find this one rather a slog I'm afraid, beyond the travel narrative aspects. Audio narration is well done.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Moh on 05-05-17

Good look at the realities of geopolitics in E.A

just ignore his subtle ideological biases (we all have our own). Overall a thorough, well presented and balance perspective on E and S.E Asian history, political motivations and pragmatic socio-economic realities. Well worth a read.

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