Why would a French writer publish a book in the United States about China and come here? Well, we live in a global world. But also, I think there is a specific reason, which is the Alexis de Tocqueville tradition. What I did for China and what I did in other books I wrote, like the book I wrote on India, is try to follow the Tocqueville method.
The Tocqueville method requires a lot of time. It is not like being a journalist, where you spend a week somewhere, you write a paper, and the following day it is over and you change the subject. The Tocqueville method requires that you spend a lot of time with the people and listening to the people. Tocqueville, as you know, spent seven months in the United States and took four or five years to write his book.
The Tocqueville method can be applied to other countries—going there, staying there, and listening to individuals—and with this material trying maybe to generalize, to come to some general conclusions, which are meaningful to understand the country but also meaningful for all of us, some kind of general laws of evolution and of history.
So it is a bit ambitious to say that, but this book on China is very much inspired by the Tocquevillean method.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Private Truths, Public Lies in China
Author Sorman Says Most of China Hates Communist Party