Crashing the Party

Crashing the Party

An American Reporter in China

Book - 2016
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It's 1983. Scott Savitt, one of the first American exchange students in Beijing, picks up his guitar and begins strumming Blackbird. He's soon surrounded by Chinese students who know every word to every Beatles song he plays. Scott stays on in Beijing, working as a reporter for Asiaweek Magazine. The city's first nightclubs open; rock 'n' roll promises democracy. Promoted to foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times then United Press International, Scott finds himself drawn into China's political heart.

Later, at 25 years old, Scott is the youngest accredited foreign correspondent in China with an intimate knowledge of Beijing's backstreets. But as the seven week occupation of Tiananmen Square ends in bloodshed on June 4, 1989, his greatest asset is his flame-red 500 cc. Honda motorcycle--giving Scott the freedom to witness first-hand what the Chinese government still denies ever took place. After Tiananmen, Scott founds the first independent English language newspaper in China, Beijing Scene. He knows that it's only a matter of time before the authorities move in, and sure enough, in 2000 he's arrested, flung into solitary confinement and, after a month in jail, deported.

Scott Savitt's memoir turns this complex political-historical subject into an extraordinary adventure story.
Publisher: Berkeley, CA :, Soft Skull Press, an imprint of Counterpoint,, [2016]
ISBN: 9781593766528
1593766521
Branch Call Number: 070.92 S2679S
Characteristics: 287 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm

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jimtroeltsch
Sep 23, 2018

This book will appeal to those who have an interest in modern China.

Highlight: The author had a particularly unique experience on June 4, 1989... I wish he would have elaborated more on it. Most accounts of the Tiananmen crackdown come from around the square or just to the east of it, Savitt managed to get behind advancing troops several miles west of the square, which is where the carnage that night largely took place. There were few casualties in the square itself. It's the only account I've read, and I've read many, from that vantage.

Lowlight: Despite being a journalist, I suspect Savitt has a penchant for embellishment. Although it is totally possible that this is my own mistaken belief. He also has a habit, often displayed by foreigners who have spent years in China, of constantly inserting pinyin into English sentences. It gets a bit irritating, especially with the proverbs and idioms.

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