Like God. Shadowy. Always there, but never seen. Those are the sort of characterizations of the Chinese Communist Party that you take away from The Party.
Written by Australian journalist Richard McGregor, The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Leaders relies on interviews with academics, anonymous party members, and whatever records the author could get his hands on to delve into the notoriously secretive organization. Although China has embraced capitalist economic reforms, the party is still enormously influential, reaching into every level of government and even publicly traded state-owned enterprises and major media outlets.
Chapters deal with the Central Organization Department (kind of an HR department for the party), the military, responses to crises (like the scandal over tainted milk), and how power is transferred. Intentionally opaque, the party’s actions can be hard to get a handle on even within China, so this book sheds much-needed light on its operations.