The notorious gangster Lai Changxing started out as an illiterate farmer, but in the tumult of China’s burgeoning economy, he seized the opportunity to remake himself as a bandit king. A newly minted billionaire of outsized personality and even greater appetites, he was a living legend who eventually ran afoul of authorities. The journalist Oliver August set out to find the fugitive Lai. On his quest he encountered a highly entertaining series of criminals and oddball entrepreneurs—and acquired unique insight into the paradoxes of modern China. Part crime caper, part travelogue, part trenchant cultural analysis, August’s page-turning account captures China’s giddy vibe and its darker vulnerabilities.
About the Author
Oliver August spent seven years in China as the Beijing bureau chief for the Times of London. He was previously the paper’s youngest-ever New York correspondent. He now reports from the Middle East.