Customer Review

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The China You Already Knew, August 13, 2011
This review is from: Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future (Hardcover)
Journalist Tom Scocca spent several years in Beijing prior to the 2008 Olympics and wrote about his observations in this book. He is a fairly good writer and parts of the book make for a moderately entertaining read. But he really doesn't tell us very much about Beijing that is interesting or surprising. Often, Scocca only seems to be scratching the surface of the events and people that he describes without getting at their deeper cultural and historical roots.

Many of Socca's observations are the kinds of things that any tourist who has been to Beijing would notice. He begins by telling us that the "first important fact to know about China is that it has a lot of Chinese people." No, really!?! And here I thought that the capitol city of the most populous nation in the world was virtually empty. He also spends a lot of time talking about the basic architecture of Beijing, pollution and other things that anybody who has spent even a short time in China would be familiar with.

I have nothing against Scocca. He didn't say anything that was outright wrong or offensive. But he doesn't quite have his finger on the pulse of Chinese society to the same degree that Peter Hessler (River Town, Oracle Bones, Country Driving) or, to a lesser degree, Robert Gifford (China Road) and Simon Winchester (The Man Who Loved China) do. If you want to read a journalistic account of social change in contemporary Chinese society I would recommend one of those books over Scocca's.

"Beijing Welcomes You" isn't a bad read. I wonder why Amazon made it a "Book of the Month" over Ezra Vogel's forthcoming biography of Deng Xiaoping and Aaron Friedberg's recent "A Contest for Supremacy," however. Both of these promise to be considerably more insightful and more likely to teach us something about China's rise that we didn't know already.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 15, 2011 11:01:22 AM PDT
It all has to do with the Wu: Cash Rules Everything Around Me. Scocca's a much buzz-ier writer than those you mentioned.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

3.5 out of 5 stars (12 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
Used & New from: $0.01
Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Top Reviewer Ranking: 14,650