The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream (Anglais) Broché – 19 juin 2014
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'The Forbidden Game is an important and fascinating work. By taking us deep into China's secret golf culture, Dan Washburn brings to life the contradictions and complications of this unique nation's struggles with modernity - as well as an inspiring group of home-grown players who have paved the way for the rising generation of Chinese pros.' Alan Shipnuck, senior writer at Sports Illustrated and author of Bud, Sweat and Tees 'Sometimes the best way into the heart of an enigma is through a backdoor. With The Forbidden Game, Dan Washburn has opened just such a portal for anyone finding the People's Republic of China's unexpected progress perplexing to understand, much less to explain. By giving us a grand tour of the surprising boom in the game of golf in China, he not only illuminates a very concrete slice of life, but gives us a graphic and readable sense of both the energy and inertia that lay at the center of the contradictory phenomena that has come to be known as "China's rise."' Orville Schell, Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations and author of Wealth and Power: China's Long March to the Twenty-First Century 'The stunning rise of China is usually told through upheaval in the country's politics and the economy. Dan Washburn has been smart enough to spot a much underestimated way to tell the tale - the phenomenon of golf - a sport which has thrived even as it has been repressed. The story of golf ("green opium: in the words of some government officials) has it all in China - from the wild west developments of courses to inspiring stories of success and dark politics.' Richard McGregor, author of The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers and Washington Bureau Chief for the Financial Times 'Every bit as energetic and ambitious as the burgeoning China it so evocatively portrays, The Forbidden Game is a truly memorable feat of reporting and storytelling. By chronicling the ascent of golf in a nation whose newfound affluence has brought it as much turmoil as joy, Dan Washburn gets to the heart of what makes China's messy rise one of the century's most compelling tales. A book this richly observed and deeply humane is an all-too-rare beast these days; read it, and then cherish it.' --Brendan I. Koerner, author of The Skies Belong to Us
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
The American, Martin Moore, was a promising golf course designer who did increasingly well designing courses in the US, Thailand, and China. He learned how to get things done amid demanding bosses and ambiguous regulation. Is building a golf course forbidden or not? What if we call it a "health club?" What if many locals object to their land being expropriated?
He succeeded amid many obstacles. The next protagonist, and the one who had the most dramatic success was Zhou Xunshu, a man who went from not knowing anything about golf -- an industrial worker, a common man, to being a golf professional. His efforts were significant, and he underwent many hardships as he pursued his dream.
Then there is Wang Libo, a man who gets displaced by his home getting taken from him to build a golf course, and he takes the opportunity and builds a store/bar/restaurant near the complex to profit from the opportunity.
Three engaging characters amid the ambiguity of changing regulations, and whether it was legal to build new courses or not.
You will learn a lot about China in the process... what it is like dealing with an all-powerful Party whose machinations are secret. And yet, one where if enough people protest, you can't do anything, even if you have all of the permits in place.
You will get a behind-the scenes look at creating the world's largest golf course twice, and the ambition of those who wanted to see it done quickly.
You will also experience the Chinese Dream, as the book's subtitle suggests... the dreams and goals of those who want to live a life similar to middle-class Americans, but all the more poignant, because the path to getting there is often unclear.
To those reading me at Amazon.com, please Google "Aleph Blog Washburn" and you will be able to read a special Q&A with the author that I will post after writing this post.
This was an enjoyable book to read, and I think most people would learn something from it.
This is a great book. It will make a great gift to friends of yours who are golfers.
The Forbidden Game, the new book by Shanghaiist founder Dan Washburn, is not another Chinese history tome, though, and in many ways it's not even a book about golf. Instead, the game is but an apt allegory for the corruption, land grabs, environmental issues and escalating economic disparity that have become hallmarks of New China. This "sport for millionaires" thus offers readers a deluxe tour of a nation that now has more millionaires than any other country but America.
But all is not soulless in today's PRC. The Forbidden Game is also an uplifting story about the underreported yet very-real Chinese Dream, and how the proletariat of a rapidly-developing society stand a greater chance than generations past of rising up in this vast field of dreams. "While many in China still rightfully believe the deck is stacked against them, it's true that more Chinese than ever before are not only able to dream, but are also in a position to expect some of their dreams may come true," writes Washburn.
In three entwined profiles, the book traces the lives of three men who unwittingly "stumbled into a sport that for most of their lives they never knew existed."
American executive Martin Moore's story of stop-and-start projects funded by eccentric Chinese tycoons with "dreams as big as their bank accounts" will resonate with foreign businessmen here. His recounting of contract negotiations, "Byzantine Chinese politics" and playing in the guanxi-gray explain how contractors have grown wealthy building courses that are technically illegal. "To get around the restrictions, savvy developers would label their projects as `resorts.' Plant some flowers and trees...maybe some people grab a club and hit a ball. That's just leisure."
Wang Libo, a farmer in rural Hainan, sees his rightful land legacy devoured by golf developers with the help of unscrupulous local officials. "The decision to sell or not to sell had already been made for them." Wang, however, realizes this might be a golden opportunity to realize his dream of a "cement home near a cement road."
Zhou Xunshu, a Guizhou peasant turned golf pro, escapes to the big city to carve out a living as a security guard on something called a golf course. In a Caddyshack-like moment, Zhou breaks club rules and, in front of disbelieving executives, knocks his first-ever ball 280 yards!
Washburn is not only a gifted writer, cleverly sketching out interconnected, character-driven portraits, but an empathetic reporter. These stories have heart, and it is clear from the first passage that the author has taken a deeply personal interest in the people he is profiling. The Forbidden Game is China writing at its most thoughtful.
Besides Dan's knowledge, intelligence and brilliant mastery of storytelling, his care, compassion, authenticity, thoughtfulness, respectfulness, and humor are the real gem to me. Dan put himself behind the scenes, presenting the complexity of his characters––that is, the complexity of China––without being judgmental; never condescending.
I can only imagine how much time and effort Dan has committed, and how much personal sacrifice he has made. In order to follow the changing mentality of his characters, he has gone through the most crowded city streets to the most forlorn mountains in different parts of China over the dramatically changing years.
Dan collected small and big information from a small village dinner table to the largest golf courses playing deadly Tai Ji with the central government. He plowed through a myriad of local dialects and customs, changing and unpredictable circumstances, different fates of villagers and citizens, trying to demystify the very essence of Chinese psychology. He has caught it right in the heart.