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Lost on Planet China: One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation Paperback – May 12, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
In "Lost on Planet China" (LPC) Maarten is still funny, but much less so in this book than in his two previous works. I counted five personal "laugh out louds" from LPC, as opposed to the dozens and dozens of "laugh out louds" I experienced from both SLC and GSWS. I found his personal opinions usually reasonable (having spent some time in China, I disagree with some of those other reviewers apparently offended by Maarten's honesty), but some of his jokes began to become repetitious (example: by the time he is blaming George Bush for not getting served meatballs in Xian I actually closed the book for a day - this was approximately tenth time a similar "W" attempt at humor was clumsily inserted). But mostly, the editing of LPC is horrible. He mentions at the end (in his Acknowledgements) that his editor was giving birth during the time she was editing one of his chapters. Actually, it reads as if she was giving birth during the last 1/4 of the book. This end section is disjointed, confusing (example: a reference is made to something that apparently happened earlier during Maarten's trip, but which seems to have been redacted out of an earlier chapter), and frequently just plain boring.
This book is like we've started on a very interesting trip of discovery together with a person you know with a reputation for being funny.Read more ›
Told with his trademark wry humor, Lost on Planet China follows Troost as he starts off in the big cities of Beijing (which has given me a whole new perspective on the 2008 Summer Olympics), Shanghai, and Hong Kong. I was flabbergasted at the amount of pollution in China; it seems its entry into the twenty-first century is coming at a very high price. But like Troost, it was the western travels through Tibet, Leaping Tiger Gorge, and Dunhuang that I found the most informative and interesting. Troost's writing is such that I could feel the thin air and experience the death-defying trails seemingly first hand; his interactions with the peoples of China were fascinating glimpses into lives that I doubt I'll ever experience. I love that Troost chose to visit not just the obvious tourist stops such as the Terra Cotta Warriors and the Great Wall, but also smaller islands like Putuoshan. I came away with a real flavor for the history and the feel of China.
I enjoyed this book immensely, though I do wish Troost had told me two things that continually popped into my mind throughout the reading: Where did he get the money for such an extended trip (not that it's actually my business, but I'm curious), and what was his reunion with his wife and two young sons like once he finally left Planet China?Read more ›
In the beginning, I will admit, I was somewhat offended by the way he portrayed us but then as I began to remember my last visit to my hometown (1 hour's drive from Bejing) and read more, I realized he was right. We do have quite a lot of pollution. We are possibly the rudest people on the planet. And the traffic is hell (what is considered good driving there, which is not crashing into someone, is quite different here.)
Some parts, like the beggars and the takeover of Tibet made me cry. I used to think Tibet was better off with China but after reading this, I realize I was grieviously blinded. Now I want to kick all my fellow Chinese out of Tibet. I do wonder though, if he gave the beggars money.
A lot of parts made me laugh. Hard. But I won't give any specifics away.
I learned a lot. Seriously, my mother didn't even know that you can bargain for taxi rides. Though we refrained from speaking english there to make sure we weren't cheated. The Mao Regimen especially was an eyeopener. I knew he was bad, but not Hitler bad. It really shows how censored China is.
And yes, it's true. We Chinese are proud. And we also hate Japan (most of us anyways - you'd be hard pressed to find someone not). And we can get REALLY crazy. One actress was told to wear pants with a picture of the Japanese flag on it for a photoshoot. Big mistake. China shamed her, crowds threw eggs at her, and people relentlessly bashed her on the internet. Poor dear. This was worse than when the Chinese actresses were shamed for being in Memoirs of a Geisha.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very realistic view of China. I understand now why I feel my Chinese neighbors are aggressive and rude. I want to read more books written by this author. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rebecca Sundstrom
I have bought at least a dozen copies and given them to friends and family. I read it while I was in China and found it to be incredibly accurate and hilarious at the same time. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Helen Dorrance
I have an exchange student from China this school year and I wanted to learn more her culture and why she does certain things in her day to day life. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ruth Hawkins
This book gives the writers perspective on China in what is supposed to be a comedic rant full of sarcastic barbs. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Myname
This is a travelogue of the People's Republic of China. It goes past the glitzy facade and details the ugly filthy polluted aspects of the country. Read morePublished 5 months ago by A. Simon
I visited the orient more than once. I read this book a year after a "24 day" very organized tour of China visiting many of the cities Troost mentions. Read morePublished 5 months ago by ltrodler