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Year of the Earth Dragon Changing Colors

The whole Communist world is in the middle of a democratic revolution. Hall Gardner’s novel depicts the protests taking place prior to the June 1989 Tiananmen Square repression—a subject still taboo in China. 

Hired to teach English, Mylex H. Galvin records his experience in his “Anti-Marco Polo” journal after he meets expats from around the world, while trying to come to grips with the Chinese language, history, and politics. 

Galvin becomes disillusioned with the poverty and environmental destruction that he finds in China; his barefoot doctor heroes are not capable of treating AIDS; Chinese and African students clash in Nanjing—with no sense of international solidarity. 

As the democracy movement heats up, he is torn between the love of Tao Baiqing, a Daoist, and Mo Li, a student of English Lit, and unwittingly betrays the ties between the journalist, Hayford, and the democracy activist, Chia Pao-yu—accused of leaking “top secrets” to Hayford. 

As Galvin studies China’s relations with the Western world since Marco Polo, with emphasis on the “hundred years of humiliation,” he becomes haunted by nightmares of a “clash of civilizations” and warns against a coming Apocalyptic Color War between the Balding Eagle and the Chinese Dragon — as the latter transmogrifies from Red into shades of Red-Brown-Black



Hall Gardner has given us a timely and compelling narrative of two civilizations as the world witnesses rising Chinese power. A magnificent achievement." 

--Matthew Fraser, Author of Weapons of Mass Distraction: Soft Power and American Empire

Hall Gardner's Year of the Earth Serpent Changing Colors is an engrossing and inventive contribution to what might be called the literature of human understanding. One of the book's messages, that,  "individuals and governments rarely think about the fact that the very manner and means in which one seeks to change the world— and the very colors that one chooses— could actually make things turn for the worse" is needed, in this, an age of great power rivalry, now more than ever. 

--James W. Carden, Simone Weil Center for Political Philosophy

James W. Carden is a former adviser to the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission at the U.S. Department of State. His articles and essays have appeared in a wide variety of publications including The Nation, The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, The Spectator, UnHerd, The National Interest, Quartz, The Los Angeles Times, and American Affairs. 

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