China, with its geographical, historical, cultural, and political distance from the West, long has been a black box upon which we readily paste labels--communist, non-Western, developing country--but whose internal logic remains a mystery to us. Arguing that it would be a major step forward in our genuine knowledge of China if we understood its internal dynamic, this innovative book considers China from a historical perspective to chart its current dynamic and future direction. Renowned historians, economists, and political scientists explore the internal dynamic of China's rise since traditional times through the key themes of China's identity, security, economy, environment, energy, and politics. Each themed section pairs a historian with a social scientist to give an overall view of where China is coming from and where it is heading. One of the PRC's best-known experts on international relations provides a concluding reflection on the political psychology of China's view of itself in the world. Although a China-centered perspective does not yield clear, absolute truths about China's rise, focusing on change in the PRC from pre-modern times to the present allows us to distinguish between China's own dynamic and its relative change of position vis-à-vis other actors, including ourselves. Written in clear and accessible style, this nuanced book will be essential reading for all readers interested in China past and present and its growing global role. Contributions by: Lowell Dittmer, Erica S. Downs, Mark Elvin, Joseph W. Esherick, Joseph Fewsmith, Barry Naughton, Dwight H. Perkins, Qin Yaqing, Evelyn S. Rawski, R. Keith Schoppa, Michael D. Swaine, and Brantly Womack.