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Item #: BK2553-274
CHINA'S GREAT TRAIN: BEIJING'S DRIVE WEST AND THE CAMPAIGN TO REMAKE TIBET Abrahm Lustgarten 2008 1st ed New Paperback
By Lustgarten, Abrahm
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Detailed Product Description
New York, 2008, 1st edition. 305 pp, b/w photos. New paperback.

A vivid account of Chinas unstoppable quest to build a railway into Tibet, and its obsession to transform its land and its people

In the summer of 2006, the Chinese government fulfilled a fifty-year plan to build a railway into Tibet. Since Mao Zedong first envisioned it, the line had grown into an imperative, a critical component of Chinas breakneck expansion and the final maneuver in strengthening Chinas grip over this remote and often mystical frontier, which promised rich resources and geographic supremacy over South Asia.

Through the lives of the Chinese and Tibetans swept up in the project, Fortune magazine writer Abrahm Lustgarten explores the Wild West atmosphere of the Chinese economy today. He follows innovative Chinese engineer Zhang Luxin as he makes the trains route over the treacherous mountains and permafrost possible (for now), and the tenacious Tibetan shopkeeper Rinzen, who struggles to hold on to his business in a boomtown that increasingly favors the Han Chinese. As the railwaythe highest and steepest in the worldextends to Lhasa, and Chinas Go West campaign delivers waves of rural poor eager to make their fortunes, their lives and communities fundamentally change, sometimes for good, sometimes not.

Lustgartens book is a timely, provocative, and absorbing first-hand account of the Chinese boom and the promise and costs of rapid development on the countrys people. 

Review

"I can't think of any story that better captures the exhilaration and the agony of our pell-mell globalization. Chinas Great Train is a powerful piece of reporting and of reflection, and it never edges away from the tough questions." - Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy

"Lustgarten has pulled off something quite extraordinary: by shining a finely-pointed and intimate light on a handful of people directly affected by one of the modern era's greatest engineering featsor follieshe has rendered a far broader portrait of what happens when two great cultures come into collision. In the process, he not only explores the age-old question of what price progress, but the far more essential question of just how progress might be defined. A must read for anyone who seeks to understand the colossal changes taking place in today's China." - Scott Anderson, author of Moonlight Hotel and The Man Who Tried to Save the World

"Chinas Great Train is a wonderful account of a project that combined technological ambition, nationalistic and ethnic hubris, and individual determination, cunning, and vision. It is a saga in the spirit of David McCulloughs accounts of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Panama Canal but about a project happening right now. Its implications arent all positiveabout China, Tibet, or the process of modernizationbut Abrahm Lustgarten does an admirable job of leading the reader to surprising understandings of all those topics." -James Fallows, author of Blind Into Baghdad and Looking at the Sun

"Lustgarten lifts the rug off the grand national project of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. His compelling descriptions of bureaucratic struggles and bitter human costs are contrasted with the great Chinese national pride and the heroism of those who tried to solve the problems to make the train work. This is an insiders view and an important contribution to understanding the enigmas of China." - James R. Lilley, author of China Hands and former U.S. ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China

 

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