A Farewell to Old Peking: The Destruction of an Ancient City and the Creation of the New Beijing Jasper Becker

ISBN: 9780195309973

Published: May 1st 2008


320 pages


A Farewell to Old Peking: The Destruction of an Ancient City and the Creation of the New Beijing  by  Jasper Becker

A Farewell to Old Peking: The Destruction of an Ancient City and the Creation of the New Beijing by Jasper Becker
May 1st 2008 | Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, ZIP | 320 pages | ISBN: 9780195309973 | 8.79 Mb

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 ofHeavenly Tranquility explores how and why the Chinese buried their history and destroyed one of the worlds 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, Maos 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 KoreaBecker 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 Ils gaze.--Joshua Kurlantzick, New York Times Book ReviewA good new look at North Korea.--Nicholas KristofA 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 TimesJasper 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 ChinaPraise for Hungry Ghosts: Maos Secret FamineA masterly account of the greatest peacetime disaster of this century.--Nicholas Eberstadt, New York Times Book ReviewThe 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

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