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The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed (Paperback)
  • The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed (Paperback)
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The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed (Paperback)

(author)
£20.00
Paperback 371 Pages / Published: 31/05/2009
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A fascinating, intimate portrait of Beijing through the lens of its oldest neighborhood, facing destruction as the city, and China, relentlessly modernizes.

Soon we will be able to say about old Beijing that what emperors, warlords, Japanese invaders, and Communist planners couldn't eradicate, the market economy has. Weaving historical vignettes of Beijing and China over a thousand years Michael Meyer captures the city's deep past as he illuminates its present, and especially the destruction of its ancient neighborhoods and the eradication of a way of life that has epitomized China's capital. With an insider's insight, The Last Days of Old Beijing is an invaluable witness to history, bringing into shining focus the ebb and flow of life in old Beijing at this pivotal moment.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 9780802717504
Number of pages: 371
Weight: 340 g
Dimensions: 203 x 137 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Meyer's powerful book is to Beijing what Jane Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities was to New York City." --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"An emissary from a nation that routinely junks its own past and starts anew, Meyer finds himself a champion of an unpopular cause." --Holly Brubach, T: The New York Times Style Magazine

"His book reads like a love letter to the hutongs and to Old Beijing itself, a snapshot snatched before the scene disappears forever." --Rob Gifford, Slate Magazine

"A charming memoir and a compelling work of narrative nonfiction about the city itself." --Ian Johnson, Wall Street Journal

"The book...is a delightfully observed view of a vast part of Chinese society that barely was glimpsed during the recent Olympics, yet is fading away." --Kim Ode, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Heartfelt, understated, readable prose." --Utah Daily Herald

"But his history of land development in Beijing, from the time of the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci to Mao to the present, and of attempts in Hanoi, Havana and other Communist cities to preserve their own sense of place, are just as compelling (and sad) to read." --Richard B. Woodward, New York Times Travel Section.

"[A] substantive, smart book...Meyer knows the ins and outs of hutong history because he's one of the few Westerners to have ever lived in one." --Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air

"In The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed, longtime resident Michael Meyer eloquently portrays the madness of the city during this period." --Karl Taro Greenfeld, Los Angeles Times

"Michael Meyer tells the story of Beijing's destruction from the perspective of one tiny hutong (narrow lane) neighbourhood to the south of Tiananmen Square where he taught in a school. A spiritedness shines through among his earthy neighbours, even in the face of what Mr. Meyer calls "the Hand," which, visiting always at night, paints the Chinese character for "destroy" on houses that are to be razed." --The Economist

"All in all, his record of the dying ways of a city is an impressive feat." --Kate Sekules, New York Times Book Review

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