'In this succinct and vigorous book, Frank Dikötter presents a cornucopia of graphic examples to show that China in the first half of the twentieth century, far from being in a state of decay that called for revolutionary action, was in fact a vibrant and cosmopolitan society. In such a reading, the current Chinese leaders should not be seen as striving to do something bold and new; they are merely struggling to rebuild a network of global connections that Mao and others had systematically helped to destroy. This should be an ideal book to spark class discussion on modern China.'—Jonathan Spence, author of The Search for Modern China and Return to Dragon Mountain 

'The always innovative Frank Dikötter infuses new life into an historical period left by most historians for dead—China's republican era from 1912 to 1949. In his persuasive recounting, this cosmopolitan, dynamic era has more to tell us about modern China's long-term trajectory than the authoritarian interlude that followed it.'—Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, Columbia University

'Mr. Dikötter has written a superb short iconoclastic essay of just over 100 pages that should be read by any journalist trying to put modern China in perspective. Having read it they will quickly realize that the communist period in China (as elsewhere) has been a tragic diversion away from engagement with the modern world.' - Grant Evans, Far Eastern Economic Review

'The Age of Openness is a thrillingly contrarian and accessible read... an exciting, mind-spinning account of a world so different from what most people both inside and outside China have imagined.' - Rowan Callick, The Australian

'The advantage of this new, shorter book is is that it pulls together the author's main conclusions and adds to them chapters on other aspects of Republican China, treated here by him for the first time. As a result, this book is a polemical overview of his essential position on the era, and as such attractive for those who might not have time to get to grips with his more detailed, specialist treatments.' - Bradley Winterton, Taipei Times

' A superb, concise yet detailed book arguing that the great Communist Party myth that all was terrible, corrupt and backward during the Republican period is inaccurate. Dikötter superbly shows that far from being decayed and needing a revolution, Republican China was a vibrant, progressive society. Far from doing anything bold or new the CCP destroyed China's emerging society and global network of connections for several generations. The Age of Openness is the perfect antidote to the current rise of the Communist Party myth that is being extended globally now through the perfidious Confucius Institutes and lazy educators.' Alice Xin Liu, Access Asia

'In The Age of Openness, Dikötter marshals a good case that China in this period was much more vibrant, innovative and open than has been generally supposed.' - Jonathan Fenby, Times Higher

'Dikötter concisely and brilliantly argues the case against the Communist Party "Great Myth" that they 'saved' China and that only under them did China 'stand up'...  I really can't recommend this excellent one-sitting read enough. Of all the China histories out now this is the one you should read.' – Paul French, China Rhyming

'I've been reading Frank Dikötter's excellent The Age of Openness, a short introduction to the history of the pre-1949 republican period in Chinese history. I strongly recommend it. … Dikötter is too careful a historian to draw any sweeping conclusions, so I'll do it for him: China's experience during the first era of globalization demonstrates the extent to which the rise of the CCP represented a devastating blow to human progress. The fact that the CCP loosened its grip in the last decades of the 20th century doesn't change the fact that it has caused more death and destruction than almost any other modern political movement. Incredibly, our understanding of republican China has nevertheless been largely shaped by the CCP and its admirers.'  - Reihan Morshed Salam, National Review