Passport to Peking: A Very British Mission to Mao's China by Patrick WrightPassport to Peking: A Very British Mission to Mao's China by Patrick Wright

Passport to Peking: A Very British Mission to Mao's China

byPatrick Wright

Hardcover | November 14, 2010

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President Nixon's famous 1972 trip has gone down in history as the first great opening between the West and Communist China. However, eighteen years previously, former prime minister Clement Attlee had also been to China to shake Chairman Mao by the hand. In the second half of 1954, scores of European delegations set off for Beijing, in response to Prime Minister Chou En-lai's invitation to 'come and see' the New China and celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Communist victory. In this delightfully eclectic book, part comedy, part travelogue, andpart cultural history, Patrick Wright uncovers the story of the four British delegations that made this journey. These delegations included an amazing range of people from the political, academic, artistic, and cultural worlds of the day: Clement Attlee and his former Health Minister, Nye Bevan;dapper and self-important philosopher A. J. Ayer; the brilliant young artist-reporter Paul Hogarth; poet and novelist Rex Warner (a former Marxist who had just married a Rothschild); and the infuriatingly self-obsessed Stanley Spencer who famously lectured Chou En-lai on the merits of his hometownof Cookham, but who emerges as the unlikely hero of the story. Using a host of previously unpublished letters and diaries, Patrick Wright reconstructs their journey via the USSR to the New China, capturing the impressions - both mistaken and genuinely insightful - of the delegates as they ventured behind both the iron and the bamboo curtains. Full of comicdetail of the delegates and their interactions, it is also a study of China as it has loomed in the British mind: the primitive orient of early western philosophy, a land of backwardness that was used to contrast with the progressive dynamism of Victorian Britain, as well as the more recent allureof revolutionary transformation as it appeared in the minds of twentieth century Britons.
Patrick Wright is a writer and broadcaster with an interest in the cultural dimensions of modern life. He is the author of a number of highly acclaimed best-selling history books, including The Village that Died for England, Tank (described by Simon Schama as 'a tour de force'), and Iron Curtain, which John le Carre described as 'a wor...
Title:Passport to Peking: A Very British Mission to Mao's ChinaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0 inPublished:November 14, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199541930

ISBN - 13:9780199541935


Table of Contents

PrefacePart I: In the Spirit of Geneva (London to Minsk)1. Embarkation2. Holding Out in the Legation Quarter3. Paul Hogarth's Marxist Shudder4. The Battle of British 'Friendship'5. The Charms of Anti-Americanism6. Barbara Castle's Bevanite Sigh7. Chou En-lai's Winning SmilePart II: One Good Elk and Dinner with the Politburo (Moscow)8. Flowers for Edith Summerskill9. Just Like Manchester a Hundred Years Ago10. The Tragic Thoughts of Chairman Smith11. Stanley Spencer's Pyjama Cord and the Socialist TreePart III: Anticipating China (Moscow to Ulan Bator)12. Ghosts over Siberia (Casson and Pulleyblank)13. A Blue Jacket for Abraham Lincoln (Paul Hogarth)14. How China Came to Cookham (Stanley Spencer)15. Brown Phoenix Over Mongolia (Cedric Dover)Part IV: Listening to the Oriole (China)16. Clement Attlee's Break17. Popeyed Among the Tibetans: the Undiplomatic Rapture of the Cultural Delegation18. Cadillacs, Coal Mines and Co-ops: the Second Labour Delegation Grapples with the Facts19. 'Nuts About Pavlov?' Resuming the Scientific DialoguePart V: The Artist's Reckoning (China)20. Revolution in the Art Schools and Museums21. Paul Hogarth's Sky Full of Diamonds22. Stanley Spencer's TakeawayAfterword: The Vision Fades