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South of the Clouds: Exploring the Hidden Realms of China
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South of the Clouds: Exploring the Hidden Realms of China

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  47 ratings  ·  10 reviews
South of the Clouds offers a fascinating, intimate portrait of China by telling the story of an American man who ventures into its hidden realms---romance, politics, the criminal underworld, and Tibet. As he matures from a wide-eyed student into a journalist and a seasoned observer, he develops a passion for uncovering secrets, about China and about himself.

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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2004)
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As a longtime reader of the New York Times and The Economist, I’ve read numerous articles over the years dealing with the rapid economic rise of China. So, when I saw Seth Faison’s 2004 book South of the Clouds: Exploring the Hidden Realms of China on the shelf at my local library my curiosity got the best of me and I grabbed it.
Faison, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, former New York Times Shanghai Bureau Chief and husband of CNN reporter Siobhan Darrow, covers two decades of living in Ch
An easy read -nothing too indepth but gives a good account of some of the major happenings in China over the time he was in China. I have read a few accounts of peoples time in China and it is nice to read about someone who want to China in the very early stages of it opening up (he first arrived in the early 80s) and hear about his experiences and he writes about a few things I have not seen others tackle in an honest way (sauna massage and Falun Qong for example). This is a good book to add to ...more
Sep 03, 2009 Nancy added it
The author's attempt at poignancy was somewhat successful. His frank and direct recount of some personal experiences were sometimes creepy and disturbing. My impression is that at first he was intrigued by China, and at the end he was disillusioned and disappointed.

This book opened my eyes to the fact that the chinese culture is vast and multi-faceted. Despite its immensity, it subjected itself to communism. Communism was a failure and devastating to the culture.
The author had just become my new boss....wanted some insight into his way of thinking. I was expecting a traveler's exploration of China, but this is rather more self-revealing/autobiographical than anticipated. Still, some very interesting topics.
Finished it in a day. Funny and educational, he is a great reporter and chronicler, and a dogged researcher. Not on the same level as Hessler though, with somewhat shallow analysis at times.
I enjoyed this memoir of the NYT China Bureau Chief so much that I emailed to tell him so. And he emailed me back! My book geek self was very excited about that.
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Passable reading that sheds rare light on contemporary Chinese society. Not a serious piece of writing.
Loved going back to cities in China with Seth.
Surprisingly honest and personal.
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