For nearly 1400 years after the fall of the Roman Empire, there was one preeminent power in the world: China. No other nation came close to matching the colossus of Asia in terms of size, population, wealth, and inventiveness. Even after they conquered China, the Mongols and Manchus quickly succumbed to, and were absorbed by, the splendors of Chinese civilization. But decline set in during the nineteenth century, when aggressive European powers ushered in a century of humiliation with their victories in the Opium Wars. As foreigners plundered, China convulsed in a nightmarish sleep of famine, revolution, and anarchy. Mao Zedong’s communist triumph brought respite and new hope. But it was soon dashed by fresh upheavals. As Deng Xiaoping’s reforms took root in the 1980s, China finally woke up. “There lies a sleeping giant,” Napoleon once said of this ancient land. “Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will shake the world.” For better or worse, China has awakened.