25 October 2012

The Chinese Army Today: Tradition and Transformation for the 21st Century, 2nd ed.

An essential reference for all serious observers of today’s PLA. You won’t find this incisive analysis anywhere else. A must-read!

Dennis J. Blasko, The Chinese Army Today: Tradition and Transformation for the 21st Century, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2012).

From the Publisher:

The Chinese Army Today is a comprehensive study of the Chinese military, examining its ground forces in a level of detail not found in any other contemporary works. This new, revised edition has been fully updated to take account of recent changes in the institution.

In 1999, the military modernization program of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army increased in intensity and achieved a focus not seen in the previous two decades. Based primarily on actual Chinese sources, this book details these changes and puts them in the context of the many traditions that still remain.

Written by a retired professional military officer who has served in China, the text uses first-hand observation of the Chinese military and three decades of military experience to weave many disparate threads from official Chinese statements, documents, and media reports into an integrated whole. The author also conducts an in-depth exploration into the many forces that constitute the People’s Liberation Army.

This is an essential book for all students of Chinese military and security affairs, and highly recommended for students of Chinese Politics, Asian Security, and International Relations and Strategic Studies, in general.


Editorial Reviews

“Dennis Blasko has written the definitive study of China’s ground forces, but this book also illuminates many other aspects of China’s military today. The author brings to this assessment a career worth of knowledge and experience in the U.S. Army, as a specialist on the Chinese military. Few, if any, know the Chinese army better than Blasko. His judgements are careful and nuanced, his research and sources are thorough, and his presentation is comprehensive—all necessary correctives to the frequent media hype on the subject. A ‘must read’ for anyone seeking to understand the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its impact on Asian security and U.S. national security interests.”

– David Shambaugh, George Washington University, USA

“Probably the most complete, best referenced and most accurate analysis available of the ground forces of the PLA … It should be part of the library of any scholar or analyst of the Chinese military.”

– The China Journal

“Blasko’s book is an authoritative primer on the PLA for national security professionals. His background as an Army intelligence officer and China foreign area officer, and his intimate knowledge of primary sources enable him to provide thoughtful analysis. His book should be on every PACOM officer’s ‘must read’ list.”

– Military Review

“This is an excellent introduction to the PLA and can serve as a starting point for any scholar interested in China’s modern military. It will also be an excellent tool for orienting professionals who may be working in the area. …The Chinese Army Today makes a valuable contribution to the challenging area of PLA studies.

– Jerremie Clyde, Journal of Military and Strategic Studies

“Dennis Blasko has done it again. The most authoritative, concise, and comprehensive overview of China’s ground forces available anywhere has now been completely revised and fully updated. An invaluable handbook for expert or layperson.”

– Andrew Scobell, RAND


About the Author

Dennis J. Blasko is an independent analyst and former Senior Military Fellow at the National Defense University, Washington, DC. He served for 23 years as a Military Intelligence Officer specializing in China, and was an Army Attaché in Beijing and Hong Kong 1992-96.


For one source cited here, see Andrew S. Erickson and Lyle J. Goldstein, “Gunboats for China’s New ‘Grand Canals’? Probing the Intersection of Beijing’s Naval and Energy Security Policies,” Naval War College Review 62.2 (Spring 2009): 43-76.