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Behind the Red Door: Sex in China Kindle Edition
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|Length: 233 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
And now, according to author Richard Burger's new book Behind the Red Door, the Chinese are once again on the verge of a sexual revolution.
Best know for his knives-out commentary on The Peking Duck, one of China's longest-running expat blogs, Burger takes a similar approach to surveying the subject of sex among the Sinae, leaving no explicit ivory carving unexamined, no raunchy ancient poetry unrecited, and *ahem* no miniskirt unturned.
Opening (metaphorically and literally) with an introduction about hymen restoration surgery, Burger delves dàndàn-deep into the olden days of Daoism, those prurient practitioners of free love who encouraged multiple sex partners as "the ultimate co-joining of Yin and Yang." Promiscuity, along with prostitution, flourished during the Tang Dynasty - recognized as China's cultural zenith - which Burger's research surmises is no mere coincidence.
Enter the Yuan Dynasty, and its conservative customs of Confucianism, whereby sex became regarded only "for the purpose of producing heirs." As much as we love to hate him, Mao Zedong is credited as single-handedly wiping out all those nasty neo-Confucius doctrines, including eliminating foot binding, forbidding spousal abuse, allowing divorce, banning prostitution (except, of course, for Party parties), and encouraging women to work.Read more ›
My one gripe is that he tells us quite sensibly in the introduction that it is impossible to draw neat and tidy conclusions about China's sexual revolution and where it is headed. Then, in the afterward, that is exactly what he tries to do, somewhat awkwardly. It's obvious he is trying to wrap it all up and come to an optimistic conclusion, but this seems forced, as though the author isn't sure himself whether he believes his own predictions. It's the one issue I had with the book. But that's a minor criticism, though I found it enough to lower my rating from 5 to 4 stars. The book is solid, and as far as I know there is no other book like it. Well worth the low price.
Highly readable and extremely informative.
Burger states his position at the outset that he will be a bricoleur and that this is not an exhaustive or directed research text-- rather an expository and impressionistic piece. Nonetheless, the range of sources he cited was barely passable and *might* make for good further reading for someone who is interested (unlike the present reviewer). One book that he cited that I emphatically recommend that anyone avoid is Mara Hvistendahl's garbage screed, Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men. The total bibliography ran to 2 pages and 18 sources. One was an undergraduate thesis, another was a MS thesis, two were from an encyclopedia, and another was from a website.
There were a few weird things/ lines of reasoning:
1. The first thing is that the author tries to tell us that China's ideas about sexuality didn't follow the Western progression. But first he tries to convince us that it did/should have and then devotes several pages (at recurring intervals) to explaining why that's wrong. (Real academic style stuff here-- convincing us of something that is obviously false in order to give the writer a platform for expostulation.)
2. The author went into a lot of weird Western (self-) flagellation in the chapter on homosexuality. (Have you ever noticed that academics try to make *every single ill* in the world the fault of the United States/ Western world?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is chalked full of great insights into the history and leads the reader into why things are done today as much as possible. The amount that it really talks about is high. Read morePublished 14 months ago by R. Megill
A non-academic examination of nearly every aspect of sex and sexuality in China, Burger is to be applauded for his extensive research and easy readability. Read morePublished on June 29, 2014 by Cloud
What ahappens to a society when the moral fabric is removed. "Behind the Red Door" is a very interesting read. Read morePublished on March 30, 2014 by The Reading Turtle
Even after living in China for 5 years, this book taught me so much and never ceased to amaze me. I recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about this society that... Read morePublished on July 19, 2013 by Josh Fairbairn
Very informative. Has it right on for the Chinese culture. To often books like this are one sided points of view. Read morePublished on June 17, 2013 by Alain Rigaud
I enjoyed reading this phenomenal study about how the people of the
world's largest country view their sexuality. Read more