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The Revolution as a Dinner Party

The Revolution as a Dinner Party

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Odysseus Books
5.5 X 8 in
115 pg

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From the author of Letters of Transit, Reading the Rails, and Appalachia Spring comes this delightful account of a journey across the People’s Republic of China, in search of the men who shaped its modern history.

Along the way Matthew Stevenson visits Mao’s cave house in Yenan, where Chiang was kidnapped in Xian, General Joseph Stilwell’s house in Chongqing, and Sun Yat-sen’s hideouts in Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

Between Beijing and Hong Kong, and many places in between, Stevenson moves around by bicycle, train, and foot, allowing him to describe the places that shaped the lives of China’s founders.

Of Mao’s cave in Yenan, Stevenson writes: “The simple houses are dug into the side of the hill and are reached by climbing steps from the parking lot. Most have nothing more than a bed, a few chairs, a table, and a cupboard—the revolution playing out in what New Yorkers would call a ‘single-room occupancy.’”

The Revolution as a Dinner Party is a graceful book, full of observation and humor, that is perfect for one today thinking about China—either its past or future. It also an accessible history of China’s last hundred years and biographies of the men at the heart of the country’s many conflicts.

Matthew Mills Stevenson
Author Bio

Matthew Mills Stevenson was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island, attending Buckley Country Day School and Friends Academy. His university degrees are from Bucknell and Columbia universities, and he spent a year abroad with the Institute of European Studies in London and Vienna. He moved to Geneva, Switzerland in 1991 and worked in banking until 2004. He is a contributing editor to Harper's Magazine, and the host of The Travel Hour, a radio program. He was a panelist on World Radio Switzerland's Not So Foreign Affairs, a weekly broadcast. His articles and essays have appeared in numerous publications in the U.S. and Europe. His books include: Letters of Transit, Mentioned in Dispatches, An April Across America, Remembering the Twentieth Century Limited, Whistle Stopping America, and Reading the Rails, a work of travel, history and politics. Recent books include Appalachia Spring, a drive across the coal belts of America; The Revolution as a Dinner Party: Across China with Edgar Snow, Mao Tse-tung, Joseph Stilwell, Chiang Kai-shek, and Sun Yat-sen; Biking with Bismarck: A Little Tour in France, a ride across French history; and Our Man in Iran, an account of travels in that troubled land.