Beijing: From Imperial Capital to Olympic City

Lillian M. Li, Alison J. Dray-Novey, and Haili Kong

Palgrave Macmillan Trade

Few world cities have a record as long, as fascinating, or as well-documented as Beijing's. A capital almost continuously for more than a thousand years, the city has been Khubilai Khan's Mongol headquarters, home to emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties, and the main stage for Communist-era achievements and upheavals. Beijing is the first book in English to trace this vibrant city's history from its earliest days to the present. It highlights recent changes in the city as its more than fifteen million people live through record-level economic growth and intensive preparations for the 2008 Olympics. Focusing on the lives of ordinary residents and rulers alike, the authors examine the controversial destruction of historic districts as well as the construction of new residential and business districts and Olympic venues. Extensive photographs and paintings, many not previously published, offer a window onto Beijing not only in major phases of its past, but also in its startlingly different present. Compelling and revealing, Beijing arrives just in time for the city's turn in the Olympic spotlight.


Praise for Beijing: From Imperial Capital to Olympic City

"This is a timely publication, appropriate for the serious reader who would like to understand the social history of Beijing and get an insight into some of its contemporary urban problems. . .The book is well written and will engage the inquisitive reader."--Jeffrey F. Meyer, China Review International
"In an engaging style and enlightening narrative, Beijing: From Imperial Capital to Olympic City, tells the fascinating story of how Beijing...made the transition from China's most enduring imperial capital to a center of international commerce in the twenty-first century, as well as the site of the 2008 World Olympics."--Merle Goldman, Professor Emerita of Chinese History, Boston University, and co-author of An Intellectual History of Modern China

"This book is a unique excursion through a great past and present, neither misleading the beginner nor disappointing the expert. Indeed, the combination of lucidity, conciseness and deft selection of detail is an amazing accomplishment. The city of Beijing is brilliantly conjured by this book--in time, in space, in humanity, and in significance."--Pamela Kyle Crossley, Professor of History, Dartmouth College, and author of The Manchus (1997) and co-author of Global Society: The World since 1900 (2007)

"Useful and applicable to all levels... Recommended." —CHOICE
"A treat even for the lay reader." —Simon Kuper, Author of Football Against the Enemy

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Lillian M. Li, Alison J. Dray-Novey, and Haili Kong

  • Lillian M. Li is Professor of History, Swarthmore College.  Alison J. Dray-Novey is Professor of History, College of Notre Dame of Maryland.  Haili Kong is Professor of Chinese Language, Literature, and Film, Swarthmore College.





    Available Formats and Book Details

    Beijing: From Imperial Capital to Olympic City

    Lillian M. Li, Alison J. Dray-Novey, and Haili Kong

    • Trade Paperback