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Travelers' Tales China: True Stories (Travelers' Tales Guides) Paperback – June 29, 2004

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"Behind the limbs of trees one can see, far below, the waters of a winding stream emerging from distant misty hills. A fisherman holding a pole stands on his bamboo raft."
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Product Details

  • Series: Travelers' Tales Guides
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Travelers' Tales (June 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932361073
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932361070
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,744,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thom Mitchell VINE VOICE on March 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
Many people visiting China buy the requisite guidebooks but they don't even skim the surface of the Chinese experience or literature. The Traveler's Tales series of books does an amazing job compiling a wide variety of authors and stories into one manageable volume providing a great starting point for anyone wanting to begin to understand China. The editors also weave small quotes, sayings, proverbs, and snippets into boxes throughout the book to provide a leavening to the stories. Some stories are short, some are long and all of them are interesting.

I find this book, and all of the Traveler's Tales Books, required reading whenever I visit a country and this book is no exception. The editors have done a great job bringing together stories from authors well-known and not-well-known. Some you will recognize like: Peter Hessler, Mark Salzman and others you will be reading for the first-time.

Even you aren't planning a trip to China I can't imagine a better single book to provide some of the atmosphere of being in China. Brew yourself a pot of tea and settle in for a compelling series of stories that is easily digestible in small chunks or in one long sitting.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. E. Stevens VINE VOICE on April 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
What is China? Reduced to facts and figures, China is amazing and overwhelming. 1.3 billion people live within its borders. Almost 4 million square miles in area. A history stretching back countless millennia. A modern history filled with catchphrases and people with instant recognition: Mao, Tiananmen, Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping. Its economic and political system defy conventional analysis--a totalitarian, self-proclaimed Communist state increasingly open to market capitalism. Hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of books have been written on China ... travelogues, fiction and non-fiction about its history, its culture both modern and ancient. Yet, despite all the numbers and facts, the "real" China seems quite distant. The question remains: What is China?

Travelers' Tales China takes a different approach. Rather than tackling China at the macro-level (an impossible task), it attempts to portray China through a mosaic of stories, some quite mundane, some quite profound; all wonderfully written and vivid in their description and imagery. The writers' perspectives are ideal for the task: as travelers they are confronted by the perpetual travelers' paradox. As the outsider, they are distanced from their subject. Quite often, this detachment is self-imposed, other times it is brought upon by outside forces. However, this detachment is coupled with a curiosity, an eye for detail, a hunger for meaning extended to a degree that would not be sought had they insider status.

Most books on China that I have seen are like a photograph taken on a day with a blinding sun. The subject is blanched by the extreme illumination, shadows are banished, yet the scene is still oddly unclear. Paraphrasing the Dao De Jing, the China that can be told of is not the true China.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Griffith on May 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a jumble of candid, high-spirited adventures. It's mostly a joy to read, whether it's motorcycling across the Gobi Desert, boxing in the ring at a Beijing fight club, or just waiting till dawn in train stations. The writers note hard realities all around, but enjoying the ride is the main thing.

--author of A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I chose this book to learn more during my trip to China. I found many stories correlated with where I was visiting-the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Panda Reserve, and much more. What was most interesting was to view these stories, which were mostly written 10 to 20 years ago, with what I was now seeing. China has made amazing advances in these past two decades and so many things are not now what they were at that time. Interesting to see the changes. But many stories, such as the train story, were totally relatable to the present. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it.
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