PDF Jasper Becker ð The City of Heavenly Tranuillity Beijing in the History of ð

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10 thoughts on “The City of Heavenly Tranuillity Beijing in the History of China

  1. says:

    Excellent history of Beijing I learned so much about the city and how it has changed over the decades especially since 1949


  2. says:

    In a few weeks I'll be moving to Beijing to teach Because I know very little about Chinese history or Beijing I've been trying to read all I can about it This was the first such book I found a lot of the anecdotes interesting as well as a lot of the earlier history aspects For me the information wasn't the problem The writing was For a journalist Becker sure does digress a lot and use a lot of unnecessarily flowery language I was constantly reminded of Holden Caulfield talking with his former teacher about his current teacher He said his current teacher would cut students off when they started digressing Holden argued the digressions were interesting but his former teacher pointed out that if the digression was the interesting part that's what the speaker should have been talking about in the first place But I digress Becker begins each chapter with an interesting aspect or person in the city Then completely digresses into the historical jumping back and forth through time until he winds up back where he started A lot of his digressions were interesting but halfway through the book I realized I still had almost no concept of a timeline or sense of the city itself One chapter about meeting the last surviving eunuch had me so confused I had to read it twice Another chapter began with him researching the city's brothels then digressed into the Japanese occupation and ended with the mention of a Chinese leader embroiled in a sex scandal I'm still unclear about the ending of that chapter He reiterates something the prostitue he interviewed had said earlier but his reference sounded unfamiliar I reread the entire chapter and couldn't find the comment he was referencing It's so disconnected in its ideas and lack of thesis that I was beginning to feel as if my reading comprehension was the problem An anecdotal journey through the city would be great Historical perspective of the city would be great However the mish mash of both was discombobulating If the digressions were the main idea and the interesting parts they should have been the focus Which leads me to me next problem with the writing Becker needs a better editor After teaching writing and paragraphessay structure for half my life I know I can be a little nit picky The lack of Oxford commas didn't bother me I know many who would've tossed out the book at the first one missing What bothered me was the lack of parallel structure A lot of my problems with his digressions could have been cleared up with some good editing and reorganizing For example in the chapter on eunuchs Becker introduces the two people he's going to talk about one was the last eunuch to serve Pu Yi and the other was the claimant to the throne Common sense and the way our brains process information would indicate that the eunuch would be the first topic at hand Nope It was the claimant When we read we unconsciously use structural clues like that to help us process the information I had to read the chapter twice before I figured out that my utter confusion came from that lack of parallel structure and that I wasn't reading about two eunuchs one a claimant to the throne That's when I realized that issue probably accounted for a lot of the times I was confused about eventspeopleplaces I began to notice that Becker did this All The Time Another reason I'm astounded he's a professional journalist All in all info was good though I'll admit I gave up halfway through I got tired of having to reread chaptersparagraphs The writing and editing made it so much difficult to read than it needed to be I don't write a lot of reviews for what I read and this book doesn't have a lot of reviews for it but the digressions and poor structure had to be called out Maybe the editor publisher or author will see this and work on editing for clarity


  3. says:

    I was reading this book before and during my trip to China I was surprised that a book written by a historian could be so captivating I found it very informative and enjoyed uoting it to my husband while we were touring Beijing The information was logical and systematic than our tourguides


  4. says:

    I found it fascinating for its anecdotes but unexpectedly superficial when it came to its take on modernist architecture and this weakened my general impression