Michael is a great raconteur and it’d be hard to find many others who know Peking’s history as well as he does. His book is a mix of essays and guides that forms a comprehensive narrative about the cultural mosaic of the capital of China - palaces, temples, back streets and markets. For me it’s become a reference guide that gets taken off the shelves with alarming regularity though it’s a great read from start to finish too. I’m looking forward to the 19th.
As someone who divides their time pretty evenly writing about China now and China back then this seemed like a place to throw all the interesting bits that fall through the cracks somehow and never get used anywhere else.
It's basically the stuff that doesn't get used in my writing about modern China or in the books I do about old China - i.e. probably of little interest to anyone but me and therefore ideally suited to an obscure blog up a dark cul-de-sac of the Internet.