a book that doesn't suck
Replies: 15 - Last Post: May 10, 2005 3:07 AM Last Post By: Burlthai
May 8, 2005 2:13 PM
a book that doesn't suckhi. i was wondering if someone could recommend a good book for travelling in china, about china. i am looking for a comprehensive history type book, but nothing too heavy (literally and figuratively)....i am more interested in contemporary (current) history, like in the past 150 years....... any suggestions would be great.... rock on.
May 8, 2005 2:44 PM
May 8, 2005 5:10 PM
May 8, 2005 7:30 PM
- Red China Blues - by Jan Wong - autobiography of the first canadian to study in China after the 1949 revolution - she was also the Toronto Globe's China bureau head for a while
* China Wakes - by Nicolas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn - an examination of China circa 1996/7 - still a good introduction to China's recent history; Kristoff & WuDunn were both New York Times reporters in China
* China Live - by Mike Chinoy - another autobiography - this by the former CNN Beijing bureau chief - it's sort of a history of CNN and Modern China rolled into one
Those are really easy reading - but very informative
These books are a bit more academic
The Search for Modern China - Jonathan Spence (actually any of Spence's books are pretty good)
anything by Jasper Becker is also in-depth.
May 8, 2005 10:22 PM
May 9, 2005 12:18 AM
May 9, 2005 12:48 AM
6Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth.. Written while she was in China and is a world classic.
May 9, 2005 1:08 AM
May 9, 2005 1:29 AM
8If you want to lighten up a bit read any of the three novels by Qiu Xiaolong which novelize the investigations of his Shanghai detective Chief Inspector Chen Cao. They give a good idea of the culture as well as some historical perspective as well.
May 9, 2005 3:05 AM
May 9, 2005 3:28 AM
10River Town... can't remember the author's name, but he was an American Peace Corp worker a few years back upcountry.
The Three Swans...at least I think that is the name...novel about 3 generations of chinese women over the past century.
The trilogy by Han Su Yin... it is a bit dated, but I really enjoyed the personal aspect along with the historical events.
May 9, 2005 9:26 AM
11No. 10 - River Town is by Peter Hessler. I'm reading it at the moment and really enjoying it. He describes the two years he spent teaching literature in a college in Fulong, Sichuan in the late 1990s. It's a really interesting insight into the cultural differences between America and China, with funny (and sometimes sad) anecdotes of what his students said and wrote, his daily exchanges with various people around the town, dipping into the then political climate. Although much has changed since then, it really gives a flavour of what you may come across when you first move to China.
May 9, 2005 12:56 PM
May 9, 2005 1:11 PM
May 9, 2005 2:51 PM
14Actually, if you want a really short history, read the section in the guidebooks about the history. Too short? I've got "A Traveller's History of China", which looks pretty good, though I haven't read it yet.
Not what you're looking for, but something that might interest others on the list is "The Man Who Stayed Behind" by Sidney Greenberg. I read it when I was home this winter and it was great. Greenberg (right name?) came to China as an American soldier and secret Communist, stayed after the war and worked with Mao and others. He lived through the Cultural Revolution and spent altogether ten years in Chinese prisons. He was idealistic about Communism even through his time in prison. He finally left China and is in the US now. A great read for those who want to learn more about Chinese history from the 1940's to the 1970's.
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