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What 1 book on China MUST beI read before my 1st trip?

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Showing 1-15 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 14, 2011, 8:53:12 PM PST
I am travelng to China for the 1st time. If I could read one book (not travel guide) what should it be?

Posted on Jan 19, 2011, 12:26:51 AM PST
Helen Wang says:
The Chinese Dream: The Rise of the World's Largest Middle Class and What It Means to You. It's based on over 100 interviews and very readable.

Posted on Jan 20, 2011, 7:36:20 AM PST
Lisbeth says:
Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2011, 7:32:01 PM PST
I would recommend River Town by Peter Hessler ,it is about his experiences teaching for 2 years at a college in the south of China.

Posted on Jan 23, 2011, 7:49:54 PM PST
P. King says:
CHINA: Portrait of a People by Tom Carter. The above suggestions are okay except that they only give you a limited perspective on their specific topics (e.g. teaching english for Hessler). Carter's photo book shows you over 800 images of EVERY single race, culture and class from all 33 provinces in modern China. Very inspirational for preparing your travels there.

Posted on Jan 25, 2011, 11:18:49 AM PST
Me and Chairman Mao Only if you: a) want to be entertained; and b) want to be prepared for some of the crazy things that will undoubtedly happen to you when you are there. (Full disclosure: I wrote it, so I may be biased.) If you decide to go a more scholarly direction (any of the above will serve for that!) I will give you some free advice: the art students aren't art students; the people who want to have tea with you to practice English really only want to rip you off; and the massages offered by women around any big western hotel don't involve any massaging. At least not in the traditional sense. All good to know in advance.

Enjoy your trip! :)

Posted on Feb 7, 2011, 4:47:59 PM PST
Twilight in the Forbidden City - Revised and Illustrated 4th Edition, by Reginald Fleming Johnston and Peking, by Juliet Bredon...

These two books will give you a fascinatiing insight into the history so you'll understand the significance of the places you visit!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2011, 5:43:28 PM PST
Ted McCarron says:
Please read Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang. Anyone interested in China or concerned about human freedom should read this book!

Posted on Feb 9, 2011, 12:56:17 PM PST
Alan Paul says:
If you want a slice of day to day life and some of the diverse characters in China presented in a very human way, I hope you choose my own book Big in China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising a Family, Playing the Blues, and Becoming a Star in Beijing. Everything recommended here is good.

I also really like Leslie Chang's Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China and James McGregor's One Billion Customers: Lessons from the Front Lines of Doing Business in China.

China is too big and all encompassing for one book to do it justice. Browse through these suggestions and see what sparks your interest. Some are academic, some are voluminous, some are slice of life. They are all China.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 13, 2011, 8:42:28 PM PST
Jesse Alcott says:
CHINA: Portrait of a People is a superb illustrated book, I own it myself. However I believe that the OP was seeking reading material, in which case I suggest Wild Swans : Three Daughters of China for modern history, or Mr. China: A Memoir for business dealings. But, as someone else here said, why limit yourself to just one book. When it comes to China, you'll need to read at least a whole bookshelf before you can even begin to claim to understand this culture.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2011, 12:39:31 PM PST
Appworm says:
Can you read in Chinese? I like the book "Snail House". I don't know if they have English translation for that book.

Posted on Feb 21, 2011, 9:21:36 PM PST
J. Stohler says:
I recommend The Search for Modern China (Second Edition). It's both readable and (up to 6.4) exhaustive. The Mao books recommended above are certainly excellent, but if you read only them you will know China through the lens of Mao and that certainly isn't a capacious enough lens.

Posted on Mar 17, 2011, 5:40:08 AM PDT
LittleMoon says:
Ma Jian's Red Dust is insightful, a kind of Chinese road-trip, but undertaken in tumultuous times; keenly written, informative about the cultural revolution and repression of artists etc.

Have a fabulous time by the way!

Posted on Oct 22, 2012, 2:33:00 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Oct 22, 2012, 2:34:09 PM PDT]

Posted on Feb 14, 2013, 6:35:33 PM PST
M. Liu says:
Our Man in China: A Novel

This is a great book - a little different and very insightful into China today. It's a fast-paced story that follows a Chinese-American banker who goes 'back' to China in hope of riches and success, only to find that everything goes terribly wrong....all with a bit of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll - basically the book is something a little different and niche (with two 5-star ratings!). It's also topical with modern China and what's happening there at the moment.
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Discussion in:  China forum
Participants:  15
Total posts:  15
Initial post:  Jan 14, 2011
Latest post:  Feb 14, 2013

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