Reviews

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Wild Geese Sorrow: The Chinese Wall Inscriptions at Angel Island • Translated by Jeffrey Thomas Leong

In 1970, United States park ranger Alexander Weiss found writing on the walls. He was in the abandoned wooden barracks on Angel Island, a bit of rock in San Francisco Bay. Inside those barracks, Weiss found thousands of characters carved into the walls. Those characters were eventually determined to be […]

By |April 20th, 2019|Reviews|0 Comments

Shots from the Hip: Sex, Drugs and the Tao • Daniel Reid

Daniel Reid is a prolific writer on Chinese philosophy, medicine, and food. He lived in Taipei from 1973 to 1989, and by number of book titles – more than thirty – and copies sold, he is surely the most successful Taiwan expat writer of all time. His latest book, a […]

By |April 1st, 2019|Reviews, Uncategorised|0 Comments

The Vegetarian, Human Acts, and The White Book • Han Kang

Han Kang is a writer whose books are in conversation with each other. Themes and images migrate from one book to another. A line of dialogue that appears in one novel forms the basis of the next. Her books build on each other the way a nautilus creates its shell. […]

By |March 30th, 2019|Reviews|0 Comments

Civil-Military Relations in Taiwan: Identity and Transformation • Dean Karalekas

Civil-Military Relations in Taiwan takes on the important subject of the relationship between the Republic of China armed forces and society, examining public perceptions of the military and the need for transformation to make it more relevant and effective.

As author Dean Karalekas outlines, the military suffers from generally low morale, a […]

By |March 13th, 2019|Reviews|0 Comments

Sea Rovers, Silver, and Samurai: Maritime East Asia in Global History, 1550–1700 • Edited by Tonio Andrade and Xing Hang

Sea Rovers, Silver, and Samurai: Maritime East Asia in Global History, 1550–1700 is a treasure chest brimming with the finest jewels scoured from the East Asia Sea. It’s simply impossible for anyone interested in the region to read more than a few chapters without discovering wonderful subject threads begging for […]

By |February 26th, 2019|Reviews|0 Comments

Dragons in Shallow Water: Love and Death in the Boxer Rebellion • Clare Kane

The 55-day siege of the international legations in Peking during the summer of 1900 is a terrific setting for a novel: here we have, during the twilight days of the imperial capital, the mayhem and violence of the anti-foreign Boxer Rebellion, the political machinations of the Qing court, and finally the race to […]

By |February 21st, 2019|Reviews|0 Comments

Jade Life: An Englishman’s Love Affair with China’s National Treasure • Andrew Shaw

Jade Life: An Englishman’s Love Affair with China’s National Treasure is my favourite kind of China book: a passionate, informed, well-written account of an interesting niche subject. With Jade Life we not only get a depth of knowledge about the subject – and an insider’s look at an unfamiliar world, in […]

By |February 20th, 2019|Reviews, Uncategorised|0 Comments

Taiwanese Grammar: A Concise Reference • Philip T. Lin

At some point back in the mists of time (2009ish), when I was actively learning Taiwanese, my most frequently repeated complaint was the lack of a decent Taiwanese reference grammar (in any language). This lack has now been comprehensively remedied by the release of Philip T. Lin’s Taiwanese Grammar: A […]

By |December 2nd, 2016|Reviews|0 Comments

Yang Shen: The God from the West • James Lande

Reviewed by Isham Cook.

Last century China experienced one of its periodic mid-century blowouts, where everything that can go wrong does go wrong and tens of millions die in senseless slaughter. The Chinese Civil War of 1927-50: 2-8 million dead. The Sino-Japanese War of 1937-45: up to 26 million dead. The […]

By |August 28th, 2016|Reviews|0 Comments

At the Teahouse Café: Essays from the Middle Kingdom • Isham Cook

Isham Cook’s writing was recommended to me by Arthur Meursault. I’d previously chanced upon Cook’s website but been put off by the pervy content. When I say “pervy,” I don’t mean that Cook is the sort of chap you wouldn’t want pet-sitting your llama, or that his bedroom drawers are […]

By |August 27th, 2016|Reviews|0 Comments