A Short History of Beijing

by Jonathan Clements

Before China’s capital became a sprawling megacity and international centre of business and culture, its fortunes fluctuated under a dozen dynasties. It has been a capital for several states, including those headed by Mongolian chiefs and the glorious Ming emperors, whose tombs can still be found on its outskirts. And before all that, it was a campsite for primitive hominids, known as the Peking Man.

A Short History of Beijing tells the story of this remarkable city, from its more famous residents – Khubilai Khan, Mulan, and Marco Polo – right up to the twenty-first century, as modern construction wipes out so much of the old city to make way for its twenty-million-strong population. Through his timely and intimate portrait of the world’s most populous capital city, Jonathan Clements reveals the history of China itself.

This first paperback edition includes a new final chapter, taking the history of Beijing up to the 2022 Winter Olympics and beyond.

JONATHAN CLEMENTS is an author and TV presenter specialising in the history and cultures of the Far East. He speaks both Chinese and Japanese, and has been a consultant and talking head on numerous TV programmes, including New Secrets of the Terracotta Warriors (Channel 4), Koxinga: Sailing into History (National Geographic), China’s Jade Empire (Channel 4), and TheChinese Chariot Revealed (PBS). Since 2016, he has fronted the award-winning series Route Awakening (National Geographic Asia). His most recent documentary as presenter is Shandong: Land of Confucius, also for National Geographic. Visit Jonathan’s blog, here.

Also by this author, A Short History of Tokyo, An Armchair Traveller’s History of BeijingMannerheimAn Armchair Traveller’s History of FinlandA History of the Silk RoadAn Armchair Traveller’s History of the Silk RoadAn Armchair Traveller’s History of TokyoAdmiral Togo, and Mao Zedong.

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