Posted inNon Fiction



First published in 2014

Beijing introduces you to the lively history of the capital of China, one full of grandeur and spectacle as well as sieges, massacres, and rebellions.

An intimate and informed portrait of a city at the centre of one of the world’s oldest civilisations. It is also the capital of one of its newest superpowers. For hundreds of thousands of years, humans and their ancestors (including Peking Man) have lived here. Over three and a half millennia, cities have risen and fallen in this place, five of them the capitals of dynastic empires. It has been scene of sieges, massacres, rebellions and political spectacle. Not surprisingly, Beijing has produced and inspired some of China’s greatest and most iconic works of literature, film and music.

It also offers thought-provoking essays on contemporary topics ranging from the elemental problems of air and water to the vibrant art scene and the architectural adventurism of the city’s “hyperbuildings.”

The book is generously illustrated, with a concise and lively history of the city at its heart, essays on food, art and architecture and a few tips for the traveller as well. Taking readers to lakeshores, down into the subway, and around the bustling art districts. This is the ultimate introduction to this extraordinary city for travelers and armchair explorers alike.

Praise for and Beijing

‘Linda Jaivin writes with feeling, wit and great insight on the history of Beijing, bringing to life the great city’s many splendours.’

Jasper Becker, Asia affairs specialist and author of The City of Heavenly Tranquility: Beijing in the History of China

‘With intelligence and wit, Beijing is the perfect travelling companion for visitors old and new. At last, a book to carry on all of your wanderings through this incomparable city.’

Michael Meyer, author of The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed