2014 National Book Award Winner, Nonfiction


Age of Ambition by Evan Osnos Evan Osnos, credit Peter Marovich Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 978-0374280741


Evan Osnos vividly depicts the hopefulness and disappointments, clarity, and confusion that we have come to recognize in China’s dazzling drive toward modernization and economic sustainability. With potently spare observations, he introduces the reader to individuals ensnared in a variety of ways in the complexity and contradictions of the country’s evolution. Engrossing and edifying, this book succeeds admirably in answering the question, “What, in the end, is the idea of China?”


In Age of Ambition, Evan Osnos describes the greatest collision taking place in China: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals—fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture—consider themselves “angry youth,” dedicated to resisting the West’s influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth? Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail.


Evan Osnos is a staff writer for The New Yorker who covers politics and foreign affairs He is also a contributor to This American Life on public radio, and Frontline, the PBS series. Prior to The New Yorker, he worked as the Beijing bureau chief of the Chicago Tribune, where he contributed to a series that won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. He has received the Asia Society’s Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia, the Livingston Award for Young Journalists, and a Mirror Award for profile-writing.


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Photo credit: Peter Marovich