Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Only 1 left in stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Inside the Red Mansion: O... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Book is in good condition. Pages are clean and the binding is tight. *NOTE* Stock photo may not represent the actual book for sale.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Inside the Red Mansion: On the Trail of China's Most Wanted Man Hardcover – July 18, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

See all 12 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$26.00
$0.22 $0.01

Security
ITPro.TV Video Training
Take advantage of IT courses online anywhere, anytime with ITPro.TV. Learn more.
$26.00 FREE Shipping. Only 1 left in stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Inside the Red Mansion: On the Trail of China's Most Wanted Man
  • +
  • Country Driving: A Chinese Road Trip
  • +
  • River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze (P.S.)
Total price: $47.39
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. August, former Beijing bureau chief for the London Times, crafts a harrowing, super-detailed story of a China exploding with runaway growth yet still trapped in the past and ruled by the ethos of tufei—the classical Mandarin word for bandit. By turns delightfully surprising and slap-across-the-face sobering, August's yarn centers on his quest to find Lai Changxing, a country boy turned self-made billionaire, thug and China's most wanted man. August takes him from a private club (where [f]locks of sequined mermaids waltzed past in merry circles, followed by operatic massifs of rouged Red Guards goose-stepping to 'The Sound of Music' ) and Xiamen, an out-of-control coastal boomtown (with [a] furious sea of cement and marble, wave upon wave of high-rises rippling out, strips of tarmac submerged at bottomless depths) to a drab government building in Vancouver, B.C., where Lai was being held on immigration charges. August finally sees Lai not as a freewheeling gangster but as a man diminished—Nothing about his physical bearing suggested the lyrical countenance of a tragic hero or a human devil... This must-read, can't-put-it down tale shows the China only hinted at on the evening news—a place of outsized egos, over-the-top commercial development and shadowy, tradition-bound authoritarian rule.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

In 1999, China’s Public Enemy No. 1 was "Fatty" Lai Changxing, an illiterate rice farmer turned real-estate and shipping mogul who fled the country, accused of heading a multibillion-dollar smuggling ring. This account, by a former Beijing bureau chief of the London Times, casts Lai’s rise and fall as a cautionary tale of boomtown China. The author tours the remains of Lai’s empire—a film studio built as a replica of the Forbidden City; a posh brothel where he bribed Party officials with the company of "Miss Temporarys"—but he reserves his most vivid prose for the "fakers and fortune seekers, oddballs and outlaws" he meets along the way: canny dance-hall girls, magnates of karaoke and foie gras, an "honesty doctor" who treats patients in a public park. His portraits are so lively that when Lai is finally arrested, at a casino in Niagara Falls, it’s almost incidental.
Copyright © 2007 Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1st edition (July 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618714987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618714988
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,584,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christian Schlect VINE VOICE on September 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This belongs to the well-stocked genre of "young western newspaperman goes to China and then writes first book telling world of what he has seen in the Middle Kingdom." It is among the best of such books in terms of relaying information and providing insights, although it falls short of the first literary rank.

The use here of one specific corruption case is an excellent device to show the shadowy ambiguities of the striking political, social, and economic transitions that have been underway in the PRC over the past two decades.

The author gives a very good picture of the tension between the needs of modernization and the country's still highly authoritative government: it being no surprise that since Mao's death the stunning economic expansion in China has been propelled in no small part by massive official corruption.

Since it appears Mr. August is now working in the Middle East, I expect another enlightening (and even better written) book in the years ahead on that troubled area.
1 Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Tracking China's super-smuggler, Oliver August manages to capture the breadth and speed of change in modern China. August is by turns intrepid in his mission and charming in his account of his findings, as his search takes him from a foie gras farm where goose livers are grown as large as beefsteaks; to a golf course where games unfold at midnight between drunken competitors attended by girl caddies in hot pants; to an upscale holding cell (when the Chinese police interrogate him in a hotel room). The portrait of China that emerges from this informative book is lovingly-rendered in August's wry, winking prose. A fast read, this book is a must for anyone interested in China and the impact it's having on the world.
Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This book combines a portrait of China's exhilarating social and economic transformation with one of its underbelly, which in Oliver August's telling proves to be sleazy, gaudy, and often very funny. Many of the characters whom the author meets and chronicles during his time in China demonstrate the same breathtaking entrepreneurial daring and wild imaginativeness as the book's supposed antagonist, the bandit king Lai. By comparison, the American robber barons of old seem boring, their aspirations staid. But "Inside the Red Mansion" raises serious issues too, particularly in its implication that the Chinese government plays a dangerous game with those on the front lines of capitalism in that country. Just who controls whom, and how long the government can continue to pull all the strings before the puppet collapses - or breaks free and dances on its own - are real and urgent questions, and this book provides a lot of food for thought along with its colorful and constantly surprising narrative.
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Compelling narration by London Times Beijing correspondent who became obsessed by Lai Changxing, a wheeler-dealer whose activities eventually brought over 400 others (including many officials) to trial of which 14 were sentenced to execution on corruption charges. Lai was eventually denied asylum in Canada and extradited to China in July 2011, several years after this book ends.

To those of us familiar with Fujian Province and the city of Xiamen, this is especially fascinating, as it shows an inside of Xiamen that academics, official visitors, and tourists never contact. To those unfamiliar with Xiamen it gives a very representative in-the-trenches picture of ways in which contemporary Chinese people creatively deploy entrepreneurial serendipity and governmental laissez faire to accrue wealth and construct social identities in a runaway economy.

August is a good storyteller, and travelers and China hands alike will recognize the way in which "inscrutable" encounters often eventually reveal themselves to be utterly rational - once you know "the other side of the story". Students of Mandarin, or those with some knowledge of the language will appreciate the way August brings to bear popular phrases and metaphors that connect to broader facets of Chinese culture.

As a cultural anthropologist and scholar of China, I have a few dissatisfactions. I wished for a more precise chronology of when August was in Beijing presumably doing what the Times was paying him to do, versus when he was in Xiamen. More problematic is the ambiguity of his facility with Chinese language.
Read more ›
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was confused at first by Oliver August's title for this book. I thought it was going to be about a classic Chinese book variously translated as Dreams of a Red Mansion, Inside a Red Chamber, etc
Instead the story of this book is a metaphor about how the Communist Chinese party has adopted to recent economic change and all the logical incongruities involved.
The main character is Lai Changxing, a self-made billionaire by means of smuggling and shady enterprises before the Chinese government went after him. Why did the government let his illegal activities go on for so long? Because modern China is not a country ruled by law (despite what they say). The government allows laws to be bent/broken so long as there are plenty of bribes all along the way. At any stage the government feels free to reign in the relaxed laws and kill off the people behind them as criminals. This way the Party never has to say they made any mistakes or they changed their minds. They turn a blind eye to illegalities so long as the bribes continue lubricating the breaks, and if it gets out of hand at any point, the perpetrator can be punished without regret.
The book is very readable and makes many of the seemingly illogical actions of the Chinese Government more understandable. There is also a very good feeling of place because the descriptions of the people and places are superb.
I read this book from the library and then bought a copy from Amazon because I wanted to own it. I can recommend it to anyone who has the slightest interest in Modern China.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Inside the Red Mansion: On the Trail of China's Most Wanted Man
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Inside the Red Mansion: On the Trail of China's Most Wanted Man