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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.
|Product dimensions:||5.48(w) x 8.28(h) x 1.03(d)|
About the Author
Michael Meyer first went to China in 1995 with the Peace Corps. A longtime teacher and a Lowell Thomas Award winner for travel writing, Meyer has published stories in Time, Smithsonian, the New York Times Book Review, the Financial Times, Reader's Digest, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune. In China, he has represented the National Geographic Society's Center for Sustainable Destinations, training China's UNESCO World Heritage Site managers in preservation practices. The Last Days of Old Beijing is his first book.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Through the Front Gate 1
Chapter 2 Becoming Teacher Plumblossom 9
Chapter 3 Mocky & Me 20
Chapter 4 "Say Farewell to Dangerous Housing" 35
Chapter 5 Wintertime 60
Chapter 6 A Brief History of Part One: Traces of Pre-Beijing 76
Chapter 7 The Evening News 82
Chapter 8 High Times in Happiness City 88
Chapter 9 Preserving a Sense of Place 108
Chapter 10 Springtime 131
Chapter 11 A Brief History of Part Two: The Rise and Fall of Imperial Beijing 143
Chapter 12 The Unslumming Slum 158
Chapter 13 Saving the Old Street 174
Chapter 14 A Summer of Recycling 188
Chapter 15 Past Tense vs. Future Tense 203
Chapter 16 A Brief History of Part Three: The Modernization of Republican Beijing 214
Chapter 17 Miss Zhu Remembers the Trees 231
Chapter 18 "If Someone Is Sick and You Do Not Aid Him, It Is Your Fault, Not His" 247
Chapter 19 The Widow's Story 261
Chapter 20 A Brief History of Part Four: The Industrialization of Maoist Beijing 275
Chapter 21 Echo Wall 294
Epilogue New Beijing, New Olympics 310
Appendix: Gazetteer 331
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Last Days of Old Beijing is like a New Yorker article that goes on forever, and I mean that in a good way. Michael Meyer¿s writing is engaging and personal. He skillfully interweaves characters, various settings, interviews, and lots of thorough research. The book is tailor-made for those readers with an interest in city planning, the social aspects of design, or historic preservation, although anyone who has ever lived in a neighborhood will enjoy it, too. I highly recommend it.
Very well written, but boring. Bought on Nook, and cannot successfully see maps. Made it halfway thru, then moved on to a different book. First time in a long time. I am a fan of Chinese history, but tearing down buildings does not interest me when I personally cannot relate to the city of Beijing. Main character doesn't seem to have much life, just describes "renovation" of city.