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Readership: All those interested in the history of China in the twentieth century and post-war British intellectual and cultural history
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 work of wit, style and waggish erudition.'
He has written for many magazines and newspapers, including the London Review of Books, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Independent, and the Observer, and has made numerous documentaries on cultural themes for both BBC Radio 3 and 4. His television work includes The River, a four-part BBC2 series on the Thames.
He is also a Professor at the Institute for Cultural Analysis at Nottingham Trent University, and a fellow of the London Consortium.
"A book bulging with anecdotes and digressions" - Neal Ascherson, London Review of Books
"Highly enjoyable...thoughtful and closely researched...His portrait of Spencer in particular is a work of comic genius" - Dominic Sandbrook, The New Republic
"A brilliant feat of research...The result is a tour de force, erudite, funny, endlessly revealing and generously illustrated." - John Keay, Times Literary Supplement
"...this is a fascinating recreation of a moment in British political and cultural history." - History Today
"Acerbic and fair-minded. . .
social comedy with a rueful edge" - Wall Street Journal
"Entertaining." - The New Yorker
"Wright weaves this complex narrative with aplomb." - New Scientist
"Patrick Wright's history of their eccentric trips is learned and charming." - Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
"In his astonishing last half-dozen books, he has established himself not only as the champion ironist and caustic critic of that weird historical compound,'Englishness', but also a social historian of an inimitable kind." - Fred Inglis, The Independent
"As ever with Wright's work the sheer density
of thought, allusion and fact is staggering - but what is more amazing is the deftness with which he spins from this a gossamer and entrancing narrative thread." - Will Self
"An impressive and unusual book... that succeeds by presenting a wonderful cast of characters set in a dimly remembered period... a depth and resonance that make it more than the sum of its considerable parts." - Jonathan Fenby, Literary Review
Part I: In the Spirit of Geneva (London to Minsk)
2: Holding Out in the Legation Quarter
3: Paul Hogarth's Marxist Shudder
4: The Battle of British 'Friendship'
5: The Charms of Anti-Americanism
6: Barbara Castle's Bevanite Sigh
7: Chou En-lai's Winning Smile
Part II: One Good Elk and Dinner with the Politburo (Moscow)
8: Flowers for Edith Summerskill
9: Just Like Manchester a Hundred Years Ago
10: The Tragic Thoughts of Chairman Smith
11: Stanley Spencer's Pyjama Cord and the Socialist Tree
Part 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 Break
17: Popeyed Among the Tibetans: the Undiplomatic Rapture of the Cultural Delegation
18: Cadillacs, Coal Mines and Co-ops: the Second Labour Delegation Grapples with the Facts
19: 'Nuts About Pavlov?' Resuming the Scientific Dialogue
Part V: The Artist's Reckoning (China)
20: Revolution in the Art Schools and Museums
21: Paul Hogarth's Sky Full of Diamonds
22: Stanley Spencer's Takeaway
Afterword: The Vision Fades