The Horse that Leaps Through Clouds

The Horse that Leaps Through Clouds

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On July 6, 1906, Baron Gustaf Mannerheim boarded the midnight train from St. Petersburg, charged by Czar Nicholas II to secretly collect intelligence on the Qing Dynastya€™s sweeping reforms that were radically transforming China. The last czarist agent in the so-called Great Game, Mannerheim chronicled almost every facet of Chinaa€™s modernization, from education reform and foreign investment to Tibeta€™s struggle for independence. On July 6, 2006, writer Eric Enno Tamm boards that same train, intent on following in Mannerheima€™s footsteps. Initially banned from China, Tamm devises a cover and retraces Mannerheima€™s route across the Silk Road, discovering both eerie similarities and seismic differences between the Middle Kingdoms of today and a century ago. Along the way, Tamm offers piercing insights into Chinaa€™s past that raise troubling questions about its future. Can the Communist Party truly open China to the outside world yet keep Western ideas such as democracy and freedom at bay, just as Qing officials mistakenly believed? What can reform during the late Qing Dynasty teach us about the spectacular transformation of China today? As Confucius once wrote, a€œStudy the past if you would divine the future, a€ and that is just what Tamm does in The Horse that Leaps Through Clouds.a€œAll the buildings have the Chinese tiled roofs with their gracefully curved corners and richly decorated rooftimber, a€ ... a€œThe lamasery is closed and under repair, a€ the caretaker had toldhim. ... We satona platformbed in a small room with aTV.

Title:The Horse that Leaps Through Clouds
Author:Eric Tamm
Publisher:Counterpoint - 2013-11-25


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