Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future

Tom Scocca. Riverhead, $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-59448-748-2
Scocca, "Off the Record" columnist for the New York Observer, offers a timely chronicle of China's transformation through an eyewitness account of how Beijing refurbished itself for the 2008 Olympics. From 2004 to 2010, Scocca records how the measures China took to present its best face to the world, restricting public spitting, banning the sale of knives in light of a stabbing, and winning 51 gold medals in the games themselves. He excels at straddling the line between the personal and sociopolitical: he marks the birth of his son and celebrating Christmas in the capital as larger changes in consumption and national identity sweep China. These personal touches are welcome reprieves in a text often inundated with sociological detail. The dizzying descriptions of the ringed layout of Beijing or the denizens of his apartment's alleyway are often difficult to keep track of, especially when laced together with the country's athletic preparation, architectural feats, and even attempts at controlling the weather. But in destabilizing the reader, the welter of sensory data and anecdote allows sharing in the author's bewilderment as Beijing constantly reimagines and reshapes itself. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 03/21/2011
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-1-59448-580-0
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-101-48650-4
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-101-48526-2
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