Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in theNew China Paperback – Bargain Price, December 27, 2007
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
I loved American Shaolin.
An original and insightful book.
Polly is an easy amateur to root for.
It takes a special kind of person to leave the comforts of Princeton University and move to rural China to smash his forearms against tree trunks. Meet Matthew Polly.
I picked up American Shaolin and read it straight through. It is first rate. Pollys book tells more about what's going on in China and has more insights into the real China than anything in recent years. It is a wonderful true-life story with profound, behind-the-headlines observations about Chinese life. A tip of the Stetson to Matthew Polly.
About the Author
Matthew Polly is an award-winning travel writer for Slate. A Princeton University graduate and Rhodes scholar, his work has also appeared in Esquire, Playboy, and The Nation.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I do not usually care to read biography books; however, I found this fascinating book a very compelling read. The author pulls no punches as he relates his experiences in finally locating an authentic Kung Fu school in China. This interesting book chronicles the two years he spent in China studying Kung Fu with the Shaolin Monks. The author relates not just the Kung Fu lessons but also gives an honest account of life in China for the average person.
His experience in Communist China reveals both the good and the bad progress in this country. There is still extreme poverty as China moves forward using Capitalism principles rather than collectivist ideas in their search for economic success on the world stage.
If you are into the Chinese martial arts (or other Asian systems) you may want to check out this wonderful book.
Rating: 4 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Chair/Seated Tai Chi, Qigong, and Yoga for seniors and the physically challenged).
He gains faith in his own abilities, but also exposure to a China on the cusp of its current rise, and he is shaped by both the profound and equally mundane aspects of the people he meets, befriends and alongside whom he trains.
This is not a book about a weak soul who finds deep meaning in his life through the otherworldy depth of foreign clerics. Rather, it is a story about growth from a bratty, impulsive teenager blind to many of his own advantages, into a young man who better understands the world around him, who conquers some of his fears, and who gains an understanding that, at the end of the day, people like the monks of Shaolin are just that: people.
Polly's memoir is an easy read, spiced liberally as it with bawdy events and characters, hair-raising experiences, and lots of self-effacing humor. "American Shaolin" is likely to be most warmly received by practitioners of Asian martial arts, who will find some level of common experience with the author. That said, it also has broad appeal as a coming of age story and a unique travelogue. Recommended.
What Polly gives us is a very good, well-written personal memoir. If that's all this book were, it would be enough. You find yourself fully engaged in the journey of self-discovery and personal development and you find yourself constantly laughing at Polly's stories. What's great though, is that you get a lot more from this book while you are being entertained.
At a time when China is emerging onto the world scene in a huge way, Polly provides a completely accessible glimpse for the average American into the Chinese mindset. You come away from the book with a much greater understanding of and appreciation for the way the Chinese live, the goals they share, how their culture is like ours, how it is different and how they think. It's a truly valuable education, but without the trouble of slogging through a dry social sciences book.
Congratulations to Mr. Polly, who was clearly aware of the opportunity to educate while entertaining. He accomplished his goal in spades. Highly recommended for anyone who likes a great story and/or wants to know more about China.