Frontiers of Heaven: A Journey To The End Of China

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9781592287918: Frontiers of Heaven: A Journey To The End Of China
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Winner of the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award
For the Chinese, the Great Wall of China has defined much more than a physical barrier. Over the centuries it has represented a psychological frontier - within it lies the Celestial Kingdom, the compass of all civilization. Beyond lies a barbaric world of chaos and exile.
In Frontiers of Heaven, author Stanley Stewart recounts his wanderings halfway across Asia. The journey takes him from Shanghai to the banks of the Indus, and along the way he encounters the modern Chinese for whom these regions beyond the Wall still hold the same morbid fascination. Today, the great western province of Xinjiang is still a land of exile, the destination of soldiers, reluctant settlers, political prisoners, and disgraced officials.
Whether describing the lost cities of Central Asia, a Buddhist monastery in the shadow of Tibet, or a love affair in Xi'an, Stewart tells his story with charm and affection.

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About the Author:

Stanley Stewart is the author of In the Empire of Genghis Khan, and Old Serpent Nile, an account of his journey to the source of the river.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Excerpt from pgs. 72-73:

I was eventuall led to the pagoda by a High Court judge. He was a cheerful fellow with his shirt knotted above his bare tummy and his trousers rolled up to his knees. He was on this way to try a difficult case which he described in English as "very grave, very murderous." Strapped to the back of his bicycle was the head of a freshly butchered cow. As he led me through the maze of alleys it left a trail of blood in our wake which I later used to find my way back to the main street. Its tongue lolled hideously between wet lips. The eyes followed me like the eyes of a portrait.
"You are from England?" the judge asked.
"Yes," I said, dropping slightly astern in the hope of shaking off the sorry gaze of the cow.
"The Old Boiling," the judge said. "Very famous. Number One court. Tell me. Do the judges in the Old Boiling Number One court still wear the women's hair?"
"Wigs. Yes, I am afraid so," I said.
The judge roared with laughter. "And women's dresses?"
"Absolutely. The judges are very fond of women's clothing."
He could hardly contain himself. In his hilarity he slapped the cow's forehead and the stiffening jaws closed slowly on the tongue.
The judge grew suddenly serious. "What about execution? Do you execute?" He made a chopping motion with his hand. It was, given the cow, a tasteless gesture.
"No," I said. "We gave it up. It didn't work."
"Didn't work?" he snorted. "What could be simpler? What method are you using? Shooting, hanging, electric, gas ovens?"
"No. I mean it doesn't stop crime."
"In China it is one hundred percent effective," he declared merrily. "The executed never commit another crime."

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9781592284016: Frontiers of Heaven: A Journey to the End of China

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ISBN 10:  1592284019 ISBN 13:  9781592284016
Publisher: The Lyons Press, 2004
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Book Description ROWMAN LITTLEFIELD, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Winner of the Thomas Cook Travel Book AwardFor the Chinese, the Great Wall of China has defined much more than a physical barrier. Over the centuries it has represented a psychological frontier - within it lies the Celestial Kingdom, the compass of all civilization. Beyond lies a barbaric world of chaos and exile.In Frontiers of Heaven, author Stanley Stewart recounts his wanderings halfway across Asia. The journey takes him from Shanghai to the banks of the Indus, and along the way he encounters the modern Chinese for whom these regions beyond the Wall still hold the same morbid fascination. Today, the great western province of Xinjiang is still a land of exile, the destination of soldiers, reluctant settlers, political prisoners, and disgraced officials.Whether describing the lost cities of Central Asia, a Buddhist monastery in the shadow of Tibet, or a love affair in Xi an, Stewart tells his story with charm and affection. Seller Inventory # ANB9781592287918

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