Mann, James 1946-
MANN, James 1946-
Born 1946. Education: Harvard College, B.A.; Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Home—Silver Spring, MD. Office—CSIS, 1800 K St. NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20006, USA. E-mail—[email protected].
Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA, Supreme Court correspondent, 1978-83, chief of the Beijing bureau, 1984-87, diplomatic correspondent and foreign affairs columnist, 1988-c. 2001; Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), International Security Program, senior writer-in-residence, c. 2001—.
Council on Foreign Relations.
Edwin M. Hood Award for diplomatic reporting, 1993, 1999; Edward Weintal Prize for distinguished coverage of international affairs, 1999; New York Public Library (NYPL) Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, cowinner, and Asia-Pacific Prize for best book about Asia, both for About Face: A History of America's Curious Relationship with China from Nixon to Clinton, 2000.
Beijing Jeep: The Short, Unhappy Romance of American Business in China, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1989, updated edition published as Beijing Jeep: A Case Study of Western Business in China, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1997.
About Face: A History of America's Curious Relationship with China from Nixon to Clinton, Alfred Knopf (New York, NY), 1999.
Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet, Viking (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including the Los Angeles Times, Atlantic Monthly, New Republic, and Washington Post.
James Mann used his vast experience as a foreign correspondent with the Los Angeles Times to write three books on China. His 1999 book, About Face: A History of America's Curious Relationship with China from Nixon to Clinton, earned three prestigious literary prizes. In a speech before the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, Mann said: "The first point I want to make as a caution about my book is that this is a history. It says right on the title 'a history of America's relationship with China.' Why do I emphasize this? Because I found in initial interviews about the book that everybody seems to think that China books are supposed to predict the future. This one doesn't do it."
In writing About Face, Mann conducted interviews with many top U.S. government officials and researched newly uncovered government documents concerning U.S.-China relations. The result: insights into the contradictions that typified the relationship between these two countries over three and a half decades. In the early 1970s, the U.S. government was on good terms with China, partly—according to Mann—in an effort to undermine the communist Soviet Union. But America's policy toward China changed drastically in the late 1980s and early 1990s, following 1) the blatant human rights violations that surrounded the Tiananmen Square massacre and 2) the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Steven Mufson, writing in the World Policy Journal noted one "unavoidable" shortcoming in his review of About Face: the author's "lack of access to Chinese policy makers and archives," resulting in a primarily American viewpoint. However, he concluded that the book will help "provide enough material to fuel informed debate over U.S. policy in the foreseeable future." Peggy Spitzer Christoff wrote in Library Journal that Mann exposes the enormous and ever-increasing role of business in "separating human rights issues from the U.S. competitive advantage in world markets." In a special for the Washington Post, Ross H. Munro called About Face "a simultaneously absorbing and troubling account" that shows "how ineptly both Republican and Democratic administrations, right up to the present, have managed our ties with the world's most populous nation."
Mann's 2004 book, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet, examines the views and careers of President George W. Bush's six foreign policy advisers: Vice President Richard Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Mann calls them the "military generation"; they call themselves "Vulcans," after the Roman god of fire. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that the Vulcans adhere to three primary doctrines: "the embrace of preemptive action, the notion of an 'unchallengeable American superpower,' and the systematic export of America's democratic values." In a review of Rise of the Vulcans for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Repps Hudson wrote that Mann "does not write with that gotcha flair that corrupts some accounts by journalists. The rarest of creatures, he's neither a Bush hater nor a Bush lover; he's a responsible journalist who goes where his research and interviews take him."
In his book, Mann characterizes the Vulcans' rise as "an epochal change, the flowering of a new view of America's status and role in the world," and the arrival of "a United States whose military power was so awesome that it no longer needed to make compromises or accommodations (unless it chose to do so) with any nation or groups of countries." Many critics noted that Rise of the Vulcans does a good job of explaining America's military stance in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Margaret Flanagan commented in Booklist that "Mann provides an illuminating glimpse into the inner workings of the [2000-2004] Bush administration."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Mann, James, About Face: A History of America's Curious Relationship with China from Nixon to Clinton, Alfred Knopf (New York, NY), 1999.
Mann, James, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet, Viking (New York, NY), 2004.
Booklist, January 1, 1999, Mary Carroll, review of About Face: A History of America's Curious Relationship with China from Nixon to Clinton, p. 806; February 15, 2004, Margaret Flanagan, review of Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet, p. 1008.
Business Week, March 1, 1999, review of About Face, p. 17.
China Review International, fall, 2001, Oliver M. Lee, review of About Face, p. 541
Economist, May 22, 1999, review of About Face, p. 95.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2004, review of Rise of the Vulcans, p. 73.
Library Journal, January, 1999, Peggy Spitzer Christoff, review of About Face, p. 129; June 1, 2000, Lynn Blumenstein, "Two Authors Share NYPL Book Award," p. 22; February 15, 2004, Robert F. Nardini, review of Rise of the Vulcans, p. 144.
Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2004, Jacob Heilbrunn, review of Rise of the Vulcans, section R, p. 6.
Nation, May 10, 2004, Stephen Holmes, review of Rise of the Vulcans, p. 25.
New York Times Book Review, March 14, 2004, David Greenberg, review of Rise of the Vulcans, p. 8.
Parameters, autumn, 2004, Richard Halloran, review of Rise of the Vulcans, p. 146.
Publishers Weekly, January 19, 2004, review of Rise of the Vulcans, p. 63.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 5, 2004, Repps Hudson, review of Rise of the Vulcans, section E, p. 3.
Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2004, Daniel Casse, review of Rise of the Vulcans, section D, p. 8.
Washington Post, February 21, 1999, Ross H. Munro, review of About Face, p. 4; March 14, 2004, Alan Brinkley, review of Rise of the Vulcans, section T, p. 7.
World Policy Journal, winter, 1999, Steven Mufson, review of About Face, p. 97.
Center for Strategic and International Studies Web site,http://www.csis.org/ (October 7, 2004), short biography.
Los Angeles World Affairs Council Web site,http://www.lawac.org/ (February 4, 1999), James Mann, "America's Curious Relationship with China," speech before the Los Angeles World Affairs Council on February 4, 1999.*