The Last Days of Old Beijing by Michael Meyer
Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed

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Synopsis

Journalist Michael Meyer has spent his adult life in China, first in a small village as a Peace Corps volunteer, the last decade in Beijing--where he has witnessed the extraordinary transformation the country has experienced in that time. For the past two years he has been completely immersed in the ancient city, living on one of its famed hutong in a century-old courtyard home he shares with several families, teaching English at a local elementary school--while all around him "progress" closes in as the neighborhood is methodically destroyed to make way for high-rise buildings, shopping malls, and other symbols of modern, urban life. The city, he shows, has been demolished many times before; however, he writes, "the epitaph for Beijing will read: born 1280, died 2008...what emperors, warlords, Japanese invaders, and Communist planners couldn't eradicate, the market economy can." The Last Days of Old Beijing tells the story of this historic city from the inside out-through the eyes of those whose lives are in the balance: the Widow who takes care of Meyer; his students and fellow teachers, the first-ever description of what goes on in a Chinese public school; the local historian who rallies against the government. The tension of preservation vs. modernization--the question of what, in an ancient civilization, counts as heritage, and what happens when a billion people want to live the way Americans do--suffuse Meyer's story.
 

About Michael Meyer

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Mike Meyer recently retired from a 40-year career as a professor of writing, amassing numerous teaching awards along the way from both his students and his colleagues. Many years ago, he was a college student in Germany. He has since visited Munich numerous times. He also was a professor at the University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East. In addition, he was a writing professor at the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix campus. The locales he writes about in both COVERT DREAMS and DEADLY EYES are real. He lives in the Southern California wine country with his wife, Kitty, and their two other cats.You can follow Mike on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelMeyersWritingLifeYou can listen to Mike read the first chapter of each of his books, watch trailers of each of his books, and listen to Mike talk about a wide variety of topics related to the characters, locales, and plots of his books on his Pinterest site:http://pinterest.com/temmike/#
 
Published July 23, 2010 by Walker Books. 384 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Last Days of Old Beijing

Kirkus Reviews

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An American lives side by side with the fear-stricken denizens of an ancient neighborhood that will not survive China's Olympic Games.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Last Days of Old Beijing:...

Publishers Weekly

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Just in time for the Summer Olympics in Beijing, the Old City's narrow lanes and shops are being bulldozed and their residents displaced to make way for Wal-Marts, shopping centers and high-ri

Apr 07 2008 | Read Full Review of The Last Days of Old Beijing:...

The New York Times

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Michael Meyer, a resident of Beijing, records the demolition of the city’s ancient neighborhoods.

Jul 06 2008 | Read Full Review of The Last Days of Old Beijing:...

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