Author Interview: E.A. Cooper

By |February 4th, 2018|

E. A. Cooper served on Okinawa in the 1960s. His combat duty followed in Vietnam with the Third Marine Division, Third Tank Battalion. After his military service, he attended the University of Georgia, studied broadcast journalism and earned a doctorate in adult education. Cooper served as dean of evening administration with […]

The Real Taiwan and the Dutch: Traveling Notes from the Netherlands Representative • Menno Goedhart and Cheryl Robbins

By |January 25th, 2018|

When I came upon this Dutch-flavored guidebook in Jenny Wilsen’s independent bookstore in Taichung (gone the way of all flesh alas despite my NT$450 purchase) first impressions were decidedly mixed. Beautifully printed and lavishly illustrated, it looked, however, with its multitude of pictures of the author (over fifty of them!) […]

The Formosa Fraud: The story of George Psalmanazar, one of the greatest Charlatans in Literary History • Graham Earnshaw

By |January 24th, 2018|

The subtitle is no exaggeration: the Formosan imposter, who went by the name Psalmanazar, really was one of the greatest charlatans in literary history. As author Graham Earnshaw says, “he not only faked literary works, he faked himself, too.”

Despite Psalmanazar writing a confessional memoir, published posthumously, many of the details […]

Taiwan’s Imagined Geography: Chinese Colonial Writing and Pictures, 1683–1895 • Emma Jinhua Teng

By |January 23rd, 2018|

Although Taiwan’s Imagined Geography is more an academic work than popular non-fiction (no surprise to learn that it began life as a doctoral dissertation) it’s digestible enough for the non-specialist general reader to tackle. Published in 2004 by Harvard University Press, the book is actually one of the best-selling titles […]

Lost Colony: The Untold Story of China’s First Great Victory over the West • Tonio Andrade

By |January 21st, 2018|

I approached Lost Colony with scepticism because of the book’s overreaching subtitle: The Untold Story of China’s First Great Victory over the West. While the story of the battle for Fort Zeelandia in 1661–1662 is little known to those unfamiliar with Chinese or Taiwanese history, it’s hardly untold. Nor can […]

The Gunpowder Age: China, Military Innovation, and the Rise of the West in World History • Tonio Andrade

By |January 15th, 2018|

Tonio Andrade is one of the best historians currently writing about East Asia, and The Gunpowder Age (2016) is the best of his three excellent books. It expands on the Lost Colony’s comparison of European and Chinese military might during the 1660s, when Koxinga’s remnant Ming forces laid siege to the Dutch […]

Looking Through Taiwan: American Anthropologists’ Collusion With Ethnic Domination • Keelung Hong and Stephen O. Murray

By |January 13th, 2018|

Communist victory in 1949 sealed China off from Western journalists, missionaries, Sinologists, tourists, and pretty much everyone except for the occasional leftist sympathizer. For some anthropologists, however, Taiwan provided an excellent substitute destination. Looking Through Taiwan (2005) examines how this displaced anthropological research often involved willing complicity with the authoritarian […]

City of Protest: A Recent History of Dissent in Hong Kong • Antony Dapiran

By |November 29th, 2017|

Even for those of us familiar with Hong Kong, the Umbrella Movement of 2014, which saw supposedly apathetic Hong Kongers occupying the heart of the city with mass sit-in protests, came as a big surprise. It shouldn’t have. Antony Dapiran’s City of Protest: A recent history of dissent in Hong […]

Playing in Isolation: A History of Baseball in Taiwan • Junwei Yu

By |October 28th, 2017|

In one of the great sporting runs of all time, from 1971 to 1981 Taiwan’s Little Leaguers went unbeaten at the annual Little League Baseball championship in the American town of Williamsport, scoring an incredible thirty-one straight victories. A whole generation of Taiwanese grew up rooting for these twelve-year-old schoolboys. […]

Colonial Project, National Game: A History of Baseball in Taiwan • Andrew D. Morris

By |October 27th, 2017|

Although baseball is considered Taiwan’s national sport, finding physical evidence of its popularity on the ground is surprisingly hard. Go to a park on the weekend and basketball is what you see kids playing. Baseball is, however, Taiwan’s most popular spectator sport, and the only one with a professional league […]