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

3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  103 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Inside the Red Mansion is a picaresque adventure that provides a look at a part of modern China rarely glimpsed by the outside world. James Fallows, national correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly Due to a mix-up on a routine reporting assignment, Oliver August stumbles onto the hunt for Chinas most wanted man, Lai Changxing, an illiterate tycoon on the run from corruption ...more
Kindle Edition, 294 pages
Published (first published July 18th 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 173)
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John
a very readable and fascinating account of present-day china through the eyes of a british journalist (former bureau chief of the times) as he investigates the spectacular rags-to-riches rise and fall of lai changxing, a former farmer who made billions smuggling various goods like cars into mainland china. supposedly lai was able to smuggle so much into the country (and build large skyscrapers and his own folly of an exact replica of the forbidden city) because the gov't allowed him to (via a ma ...more
Andy
Inspired by Mr August's journalism style, I've been planning to write a book about Barack Obama. I'm going to wander around Chicago, catch a game at Wrigley field, eat some deep dish pizza, see if I can get into a taping of Oprah, and then suddenly realize Obama has gone to Washington D.C. I'll spend the final chapter comparing the pizza in DC to the pizza in Chicago, wondering how Obama is possibly going to govern a country with two such different interpretations of this classic Italian dish. I ...more
Corinne
I picked this book up after reading an article by Oliver August in this month's Inside the Red Mansion is more a story about China's rocky political transformation than it is about Lai, the fugitive the book is framed around. This book gives a vivid sense of living in the seedy underworld of China.
Becky
Whole title:
“Inside the Red Mansion: On the Trail of China's Most Wanted Man”

I enjoy non-fiction about China today, usually travelogues of some sort like the ones by Peter Hessler or Rob Gifford’s China Road. They’re not great books but since I’ve been to China they’re just kind of interesting to me. - Like so this is how those people I saw all around live and think.

Inside the Red Mansion is a bit different (well - they’re all a bit different). August decided to investigate the notorious crimin
...more
Booksy
A story of one of the self-made millionaire - Lai Changxing - was part of shaping the New China in the end of the 90s, who in attempt to escape prosecution in China, fled to Canada. Sadly, what could be a truly fascinating and thrilling story, became nothing more than just a record of events, people, history lessons snippets - all of these intertwined in a dry, journalistic and perfunctory way. Another distracting feature - the book that I "consumed" in audio format - was narrated by a person wh ...more
K C
Interesting, and for someone who know nothing about China it provided a good lesson on how China works , its current business climate (or at least current 10 years ago when the book was written) and the relationship between entrepreneurship and a state controlled economy. But try as I might I was unable to get excited about the author's search for Lia or why he had the obsession.
Emily
I admit to huge bias concerning China and suffered enormous trepidation at reading this book. I was pleasantly surprised when, upon cracking it open, I found that the author had not drunk the China kool-aid. This book is less about the corrupt fugitive himself and more about what he represents in the context of Chinese history, the crazy way politics and business blend into a mad mish mash of culture and society that makes for very amusing and bizarre anecdotes.

It's light reading for those who a
...more
Jeff
This book deserves kudos for being the only English book (that I can tell) about Lai Changxing--an interesting subject to be sure! Unfortunately, there is just way too much filler and almost nothing about Lai until halfway through the book. If you're not familiar with China, you might find the author's impressions of the country interesting. If you've spent any amount of time there yourself, you'll likely find it a little boring.
Cns
It's not the most exciting premise, but while the author is on the trail of the "most wanted man," he examines the lives of ordinary Chinese and how they are dealing with a new capitalist system. And he has a lesbian sidekick!
Ryan Snyder
Pre-read. My local library blows.

Post-read. Some sense of China's geography would have helped but consider all the corruption in the country, I'm not sure why anyone would find this appealing.
Rob Koch
I guess the book was interesting but could have been half the length. He didnt make any new points after about 100 pages. If you are interested in China it might be worth skimming.
☯Bettie☯
Unabridged and read by author. This may be construed as an example of over-writing by some but I find the digressions interesting and August's voice entirely easy on the ear. The court case in Vancouver put China on trial as much as Lai.

In 1999, shortly after arriving in Beijing as The Times 's China correspondent, Oliver August set out on the trail of China's most wanted man, Lai Changxing. An illiterate peasant from the coastal city of Xiamen,
Lai created his own shipping empire from nothing b
...more
Nicholas
Interesting to learn more about daily life/biz in China but this story didnt need a whole book.
Edelhart Kempeneers
Het viel mee. Maar China Road en Lost on Planet China waren veel beter.
Rui Igreja
Searching for the allegedly most wanted man in China.
Adam
If you're a journalist heading to China, I'd highly recommend this. Like the back says, the book is very detailed and gives you the same feelings the author had. It did take me longer to read it. The first few chapters were a bit slow but the story picked up and was easy to read. Gives a lot of history and background on Chinese culture.
Danu
Pengejaran berita tentang koruptor no.1 di Cina yang tiada henti dari penulis.
Delia Grimes
Delia Grimes marked it as to-read
Apr 18, 2015
Yao
Yao added it
Dec 16, 2014
Jen Moller
Jen Moller marked it as to-read
Sep 29, 2014
Jeremy
Jeremy marked it as to-read
Sep 01, 2014
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