The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds

The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds

A Tale of Espionage, the Silk Road, and the Rise of Modern China

Book - 2011
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On July 6, 1906, Baron Gustaf Mannerheim boarded the midnight train from St. Petersburg, charged by Czar Nicholas II to secretly collect intelligence on the Qing Dynasty's sweeping reforms that were radically transforming China. The last czarist agent in the so-called Great Game, Mannerheim chronicled almost every facet of China's modernization, from education reform and foreign investment to Tibet's struggle for independence.On July 6, 2006, writer Eric Enno Tamm boards that same train, intent on following in Mannerheim's footsteps. Initially banned from China, Tamm devises a cover and retraces Mannerheim's route across the Silk Road, discovering both eerie similarities and seismic differences between the Middle Kingdoms of today and a century ago.Along the way, Tamm offers piercing insights into China's past that raise troubling questions about its future. Can the Communist Party truly open China to the outside world yet keep Western ideas such as democracy and freedom at bay, just as Qing officials mistakenly believed? What can reform during the late Qing Dynasty teach us about the spectacular transformation of China today? As Confucius once wrote, 'Study the past if you would divine the future,' and that is just what Tamm does in The Horse that Leaps Through Clouds .On July 6, 1906, Baron Gustaf Mannerheim boarded the midnight train from St. Petersburg, charged by Czar Nicholas II to secretly collect intelligence on the Qing Dynasty's sweeping reforms that were radically transforming China. The last czarist agent in the so-called Great Game, Mannerheim chronicled almost every facet of China's modernization, from education reform and foreign investment to Tibet's struggle for independence.On July 6, 2006, writer Eric Enno Tamm boards that same train, intent on following in Mannerheim's footsteps. Initially banned from China, Tamm devises a cover and retraces Mannerheim's route across the Silk Road, discovering both eerie similarities and seismic differences between the Middle Kingdoms of today and a century ago.Along the way, Tamm offers piercing insights into China's past that raise troubling questions about its future. Can the Communist Party truly open China to the outside world yet keep Western ideas such as democracy and freedom at bay, just as Qing officials mistakenly believed? What can reform during the late Qing Dynasty teach us about the spectacular transformation of China today? As Confucius once wrote, 'Study the past if you would divine the future,' and that is just what Tamm does in The Horse that Leaps Through Clouds .
Publisher: Berkeley, CA : Counterpoint Press, c2011
ISBN: 9781582437347
1582437343
Characteristics: xxi, 496 p. : maps ; 24 cm

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j
joalo
Jan 06, 2012

A truly amazing chronicle of Tamm's journey in the footsteps of Mannerheim and his insights of political & developing China then & now- well worth a slow read. I believe this deserves a wide audience and further recognition as literary non-fiction - highly recommended.

n
nerowolfgal
May 12, 2011

Absolutely brilliant book about a man who had a major effect on European history from the first to the second World War and yet is almost unknown in North America.

In 1906 Baron Gustaf Mannerheim was asked by the Russian Tsar to collect information on the sweeping changes in China. He traveled for more than two years in China, Tibet, and the Muslim borderlands writing his observations. After his return home the Baron took a major role in Russian and Finnish history.

In 2006 an Ottawa journalist boarded a train in Moscow to retrace Mannerheim's journey and compare what has changed in China from what the Baron saw. The result is a fascinating book about what is happening in China today - which is quite different from the impression given by news reports.

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