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Distributed for Reaktion Books


Reaktion’s new CityScopes series consists of concise, illustrated guides that provide a social and urban history from a city’s beginnings to the present day. Written by authors with unique and intimate knowledge of each city, these books offer fascinating vignettes on the quintessential and the quirky. In the first book of the series, Linda Jaivin explores a city at the heart of one of the world’s oldest civilizations and the capital of its newest superpower—Beijing. In China’s central city, Jaivin finds thousands of years of history dating back to our ancestors, a story that includes dynastic empires, sieges, massacres, rebellions, and political spectacle.
Recounting the lively history of the city, Jaivin discovers the Peking Man and the capital’s many legendary incarnations, such as the Cambaluc that Marco Polo wrote about in awe. She reveals it to be full of charismatic personalities and dramatic events, a place that has produced some of China’s most iconic works of literature, theater, and music. She also offers thought-provoking essays on contemporary topics ranging from the elemental problems of air and water to the vibrant art scene and the architectural adventurism of the city’s “hyperbuildings.” Generously illustrated, this guide provides helpful maps and suggested itineraries as well as practical recommendations for hotels, restaurants, museums, and other sites.
Taking readers to lakeshores, down into the subway, and around the bustling art districts, Beijing is the ultimate introduction to this extraordinary city for travelers and armchair explorers alike.

192 pages | 75 color plates, 25 halftones, 1 map | 5 x 7 3/4 | © 2014


Travel and Tourism: Travel Writing and Guides

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“With intelligence and wit, Beijing is the perfect traveling companion for visitors old and new. At last, a book to carry on all of your wandering through this incomparable city.”

Michael Meyer, author of The Last Days of Old Beijing

“Linda Javin writes with feeling, wit, and great insight on the history of Beijing, bringing to life the great city’s many splendors.” 

Jasper Becker, author of The Chinese

“Cityscopes new guides take a different tack, weighted towards in-depth social and urban history. Its Beijing and Buenos Aires guides will fully arm visitors with context as well as must-sees.” 


Table of Contents

1. Wild Years
2. Khanbalik
3. The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)
4. The Qing Dynasty  (1644-1911)
5. The Republic, Japanese Occupation and Civil War (1912-1949)
6. Revolution (1949-1976)
7. Reform: The First Decades (1976-2007)
8. Ringing in the New
The City Today
In the Shadow of the Drum Tower
The Dragon’s Vein
‘Chinese Town’
The Circle Line
The Thirsty City
On the Art Trail
The Nest, the Cube, the Underpants and the Egg
A Taste of the City
The Prince’s Garden
Suggested Reading and Viewing
Photo Acknowledgements

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