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The City of Heavenly Tranquility: Beijing in the History of China

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The City of Heavenly Tranquility: Beijing in the History of China Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When the world descends on Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, it will find the results of a helter skelter rush for modernization and wealth. In the course of a thousand years, temples and shrines, palaces, and gardens had filled the walls of old Peking. Its narrow, twisting streets held the collective memories of five dynasties and turbulent events of the 20th century. It has now all been swept away to make way for a new city filled with dull, boxy high rises, rows of shopping malls, office towers blocks, and residential housing developments marching down uniform streets. The City of Heavenly Tranquility explores how and why the Chinese buried their history and destroyed one of the world's most fabled cities, virtually extinguishing the culture of one of the greatest and oldest civilizations within the span of a single lifetime.

In a tour de force by a long time resident, British journalist Jasper Becker brings to life the strange and exotic lives of the emperors, eunuchs, courtesans, and warriors who for centuries ruled from behind the red walls of the Forbidden City. Becker mixes his own experiences with poignant stories from those who were destroyed in the tornado of destruction as they tried to rescue something from the past. Writing vividly and with passion, Becker shows how ruthless officials and a fiercely nationalistic government set itself the monumental mission to change the fabric of a nation - and succeeded. He also explains how those currently in power, Mao's former Red Guards, remain determined to modernize China by jettisoning the past and clearing space for the future, evicting over three million residents in Beijing alone.

Praise for Rogue Regime: Kim Jong Il and the Looming Threat of North Korea:


· "Becker makes a powerful case for defining Kim once and for all--not as an ordinary, if nuclear-tipped, dictator, but as an extraordinarily skillful tyrant presiding over the worst man-made catastrophe in modern history.... A highly readable narrative that.... is a subtle plea to the world to expand its focus beyond the--admittedly important--nuclear issue to the vast humanitarian catastrophe unfolding under Kim Jong Il's gaze."--Joshua Kurlantzick, New York Times Book Review


· "A good new look at North Korea."--Nicholas Kristof


· "A very timely book.... Not for the faint-hearted. Mr. Becker takes an unblinking look at a dark regime that has made North Korea an international pariah, has elevated its rulers to the status of gods, and through torture and indoctrination reduced its subjects to virtual slaves.... The facts almost defy belief."--William Grimes, New York Times


· "Jasper Becker has warned us about North Korea, as a journalist with a sharp eye and an historian with perspective. North Korea with its bizarre cult of personality, its failed economy, its crackpot ideology and its relentless pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is a major challenge in the twenty-first century."--James Lilley, Former American Ambassador to South Korea and China

Praise for Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine:


· "A masterly account of the greatest peacetime disaster of this century."--Nicholas Eberstadt, New York Times Book Review


· "The first serious attempt to unearth the truth of the massive human tragedy behind the 'Great Leap Forward' in China between 1958 and 1961.... A remarkable book, the more devastating for its quietness and absence of rhetoric."--Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"There's nary a tranquil moment in this tumultuous history of China's capital. Journalist Becker (The Chinese) surveys centuries of invasion, civil war and revolution played out against vicious infighting in the Forbidden City. Throughout, Becker observes, Beijing stayed remarkably intact, a charming cityscape of bustling markets and intimate courtyard houses. Far more destructive, in the author's telling, has been China's plunge into modern capitalism, with the 2008 Olympics delivering the coup de grace: soulless high-rises, roaring highways and Wal-Marts have replaced most of Old Beijing. Becker pens an engrossing elegy for that vanished city, and a cri de coeur against China's contempt for its own past. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

About the Author

Jasper Becker, an award-winning author, has worked as a foreign correspondent for twenty-five years, including fifteen years based in Beijing. He is author of Hungry Ghosts, The Chinese, and, most recently, Rogue Regime: Kim Jong Il and the Looming Threat of North Korea. An expert on East Asian history and politics, Becker's work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, New Republic, The London Review of Books, National Geographic, and Time Asia.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgements

Introduction

1. In Xanadu

2. The Emperor of Perpetual Happiness

3. Madness in the Forbidden City

4. On the Wild Wall

5. The Ming Tombs

6. In the Garden of Perfect Brightness

7. The Broken Bowl Tea House

8. The Last Sanctuary of the Unknown and Marvellous

9. The Last Manchus

10. In Search of the Golden Flower

11. Mao and Beijing

12. History in Stone

13. The Strange Death of Lao She

14. The Red Maid's Tale

15. The Last Playboy of Beijing

16. The Protectress of Flowers

17. Radiant City of the Future

18. Destroy!

19. The Eternal Presenth

Bibliography

Sources and Notes

Product Details

ISBN:
9780195309973
Author:
Becker, Jasper
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Author:
null, Jasper
Subject:
China
Subject:
History, World | Asian
Subject:
History
Subject:
Asia - China
Subject:
Beijing (China) Description and travel.
Subject:
China History.
Subject:
World History - China
Copyright:
Edition Number:
6
Publication Date:
20080531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
6.3 x 9.3 x 1.1 in 1.575 lb

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » General
History and Social Science » Asia » China » General
History and Social Science » World History » China

The City of Heavenly Tranquility: Beijing in the History of China Used Hardcover
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Product details 384 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780195309973 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "There's nary a tranquil moment in this tumultuous history of China's capital. Journalist Becker (The Chinese) surveys centuries of invasion, civil war and revolution played out against vicious infighting in the Forbidden City. Throughout, Becker observes, Beijing stayed remarkably intact, a charming cityscape of bustling markets and intimate courtyard houses. Far more destructive, in the author's telling, has been China's plunge into modern capitalism, with the 2008 Olympics delivering the coup de grace: soulless high-rises, roaring highways and Wal-Marts have replaced most of Old Beijing. Becker pens an engrossing elegy for that vanished city, and a cri de coeur against China's contempt for its own past. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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