Read The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed by Michael Meyer Free Online
Book Title: The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed|
The author of the book: Michael Meyer
Edition: Walker & Company
The size of the: 361 KB
City - Country: No data
Date of issue: June 24th 2008
ISBN 13: 9780802716521
Format files: PDF
Loaded: 1006 times
Reader ratings: 6.2
Read full description of the books:
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. Nobody has been more aware of this than Michael Meyer. A long-time resident, Meyer has, for the past two years, lived as no other Westerner—in a shared courtyard home in Beijing’s oldest neighborhood, Dazhalan, on one of its famed hutong (lanes). There he volunteers to teach English at the local grade school and immerses himself in the community, recording with affection the life stories of the Widow, who shares his courtyard; coteacher Miss Zhu and student Little Liu; and the migrants Recycler Wang and Soldier Liu; among the many others who, despite great differences in age and profession, make up the fabric of this unique neighborhood.
Their bond is rapidly being torn, however, by forced evictions as century-old houses and ways of life are increasingly destroyed to make way for shopping malls, the capital’s first Wal-Mart, high-rise buildings, and widened streets for cars replacing bicycles. Beijing has gone through this cycle many times, as Meyer reveals, but never with the kind of dislocation and overturning of its storied culture now occurring as the city prepares to host the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Weaving historical vignettes of Beijing and China over a thousand years through his narrative, Meyer captures the city’s deep past as he illuminates its present. With the kind of insight only someone on the inside can provide, The Last Days of Old Beijing brings this moment and the ebb and flow of daily lives on the other side of the planet into shining focus.
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Read information about the authorMichael Meyer is an American travel writer and the author of In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China and The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed. He graduated from University of Wisconsin–Madison. He first went to China in 1995 with the Peace Corps. Following Peace Corps, he graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied writing under Adam Hochschild and Maxine Hong Kingston.
His work has appeared in The New York Times, Time, Smithsonian, the New York Times Book Review, the Financial Times, Reader’s Digest, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Iowa Review, and on This American Life.
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.
He lives in Singapore and Pittsburgh, where he is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, teaching Nonfiction writing.
After a five year clearance delay, his book The Last Days of Old Beijing was published in mainland China.