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Inside the Red Mansion: On the Trail of China's Most Wanted Man | [Oliver August]

Inside the Red Mansion: On the Trail of China's Most Wanted Man

Due to a mix-up, journalist Oliver August stumbles onto the hunt for China's most wanted man, Lai Changxing, an illiterate tycoon on the run from corruption charges. Sensing something emblematic in this outsized tale of rise and fall, August sets out to find the self-made billionaire, in the hope that if he can understand how Lai reinvented himself, he will also better understand the tectonic forces transforming modern China.
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Publisher's Summary

Due to a mix-up, journalist Oliver August stumbles onto the hunt for China's most wanted man, Lai Changxing, an illiterate tycoon on the run from corruption charges. Sensing something emblematic in this outsized tale of rise and fall, August sets out to find the self-made billionaire, in the hope that if he can understand how Lai reinvented himself, he will also better understand the tectonic forces transforming modern China. Lai embodies the story of China's recent success as well as its Achilles' heel: the blending of its command economy with the free market is riddled with corruption.

Moving ever closer to the elusive tycoon, August introduces us to a people in the midst of head-spinning self-transformation. We meet a nightclub hostess and her gaggle of "Miss Temporaries"; powerful businessmen on a debt-settling round of nocturnal golf; and a foie gras king who markets his goose liver by the ton and prefers it deep fried.

This is a China seething with desire, engaged in a slapstick fight with its past, and hell bent on the future. Inside the Red Mansion is the first book to capture the giddy vibe of contemporary China and its darker vulnerabilities.

©2007 Oliver August; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A splendid debut." (Kirkus)
"By turns delightfully surprising and slap-across-the-face sobering....This must-read, can't-put-it-down tale shows the China only hinted at on the evening news." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (24 )
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  •  
    Jon Salt Lake City, UT, USA 11-12-07
    Jon Salt Lake City, UT, USA 11-12-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    Overall
    "Well written, and enjoyable"

    Well written, and enjoyable. There hasn't been a single moment where the story has dragged, I only hope there are more books like this on China.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHRISTIAN United States 09-26-12
    CHRISTIAN United States 09-26-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    20
    5
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good story, solid audio production"
    What made the experience of listening to Inside the Red Mansion the most enjoyable?

    Interesting pursuit (tracking a Chinese businessman who went from rag-to-riches before succumbing a to bitter downfall).


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    None in particular.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

    All were OK.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    The Chinese government's level of reaction to its runaway economy, in contrast to the old-school form of centralized planning and top-down controlling from the communist-Mao-era that seemed to dictate the future of the country.


    Any additional comments?

    Timely story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Mercer Island, WA USA 02-06-10
    Amazon Customer Mercer Island, WA USA 02-06-10 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    Overall
    "A Celebration of China and the Chinese People"

    The author's research into the life of multimillionaire smuggler Lai Changxing provides the backdrop for what is really a voyage of discovery through what might be called the "Really New China", a nation being transformed by a capitalist revolution from below, led by fearless people like Mr. Lai who both work with and against officialdom in a monumental effort to transform China into a land of (economic) freedom and opportunity. The voyage is made all the more enjoyable by our effortlessly charming and instinctively poetic host, whose almost Shakesperean command of the English language is ideally suited to his epic of praise for the courageous and infintely resourceful Chinese people he so obviously loves.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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