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Cathay: A Journey in Search of Old China download ebook

by Jan Morris,Fergus M. Bordewich

Cathay: A Journey in Search of Old China download ebook
Jan Morris,Fergus M. Bordewich
Grafton (1991)
305 pages
1223 kb
1127 kb
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Traveling through the chaotic landscape of modern China, Fergus M. Bordewich discovers the remains of an older world that Communism did its best to erase. has been added to your Cart.

Traveling through the chaotic landscape of modern China, Fergus M.

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Bordewich, Fergus M. Publication date. New York : Prentice Hall Press. inlibrary; printdisabled; ; china. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books. Gutierres on July 28, 2011. SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata).

Read an excerpt from the book.

He has published an illustrated children's book, Peach Blossom Spring (Simon & Schuster, 1994), and wrote the script for a PBS documentary about Thomas Jefferson, Mr. Jefferson's University. ISBN13:9780132021364.

See contact information and details about Fergus M. Bordewich

See contact information and details about Fergus M. Bordewich.

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Bibliography: p301-304.

Peach Blossom Spring: Adapted from a Chinese Tale (folklore), illustrated by Yang Ming-Yi, Green Tiger Press (New York, NY), 1994. SIDELIGHTS: Fergus M. Bordewich has written books on a number of nonfiction subjects, including the Underground Railroad, the contemporary state of Native-American culture and identity, and his own mother's work among the Native Americans. He has traveled widely as a journalist and published many articles in periodicals about American history, human rights, and other issues.

  • Mora
This is an entertaining book. Bordewich is a fine writer with a gift for vivid description. My friends have gotten tired of me reciting odd snatches of it, not to mention the chuckling that erupts at odd points in the book. The futility of Mr. Bordewich's quest will be familiar to anyone who has romanticized a time or a place, but few of us have his writing ability.
  • Ynye
Fergus M. Bordewich's CATHAY: A JOURNEY IN SEARCH OF OLD CHINA is a travel log that explores a part of China's buried cultural history rich with literature, art, philosophy, and religious tradition that have been referenced in folk tales, Marco Polo, and Confucius. For those familiar with the 1933 novel Lost Horizon, Cathay may have been that place; a land enamored with a myth-like utopia, and images that the west visualized about the orient. Through his trek to China, Bordewich emphasizes the identity and displacement of the people of the Northern part of the region.

After coming across a second hand bookstore in lower Manhattan as well as spending time in Beijing as an advisor to the Xinhua News Agency during the 1980s, Bordewich became intrigued with China's past. He came across a book by an American writer, George N. Kates, a World War I veteran educated at Harvard and Oxford, who visited Cathay during the 1930s; his fondest memories are recounted in his 1952 memoir, The Years That Were Fat: Peking, 1933-1940. And it was this book that began Bordewich's exploration to medieval China, and his interview with Kates. Although Kates discusses his fondest memories, he sternly believes that the China he once knew would never be again.

Despite that unfortunate testament, Bordewich heads to the beautiful and somewhat untouched landscapes of Northern and Northwest China in order to understand what Kates was talking about. From the land that brought Confucius, Qufu, to the rich cityscape landscape of Shanghai, he travels back in time and encounters the voices of those who knew or inherited a history. He reveals the kingdoms and intellectual communities that helped influence and open its culture to the western world.

The disconcerting aspect about Bordewich's account is that the residents to whom he speaks with appear to have a detachment from their history. While meeting with one of the last descendents of a Yancheng duke, heir to the blood of Confucius, Kong Decheng, Bordewich sounds like a historian hungry to preserve a history that is not his own. He asserts: "I wanted too much. I longed to know how it felt to possess twenty-five centuries of documented history as one's own, as if it bestowed some ultimate key to time itself. But history shied deftly away. When I asked him how he felt about his connection with Confucius, he said, `I don't want to feel noble. I want to feel the same as the common people' (128).

CATHAY is an interesting narrative that resonates a longing or romanticizing for China's very distant past amidst the present embrace of western culture reaped with fast food restaurants and industrial factories. The common sentiment while reading this book is that this part of world history may now have become ancient or mythical history as the years pass. And it is only through the retelling or rediscovery with books such as this one that it will be as real as the present.
  • Thordibandis
The imagery was wonderful and while I wouldn't categorize it as "can't put it down," the book flowed extremely well and I finished it in short order. I would definitely recommend it to someone interested in the lesser-known side of the Middle empire.