Talking Location With author Kathryn Hughes – Central Spain
Five great books set in CHINA
24th July 2019
China is the latest country we visit in our Great Books series. Five great book set in China.
“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognize the opportunity.” John F Kennedy
China is the third or fourth largest country in the world by land area. With 1.4 billon inhabitants it has the largest population. The country stretches from India, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan in the West to the Pacific Ocean in the East. It has a rich cultural heritage featuring the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army. Its cuisine is famous all around the globe.
Far from the glittering cities of Beijing and Shanghai, China’s borderlands are populated by around one hundred million people who are not Han Chinese. For many of these restive minorities, the old Chinese adage ‘the mountains are high and the Emperor far away’, meaning Beijing’s grip on power is tenuous and its influence unwelcome, continues to resonate. Travelling through China’s most distant and unknown reaches, David Eimer explores the increasingly tense relationship between the Han Chinese and the ethnic minorities.
A young woman travels from Edinburgh to Peking in the early 20th century,and writes about her experiences in diary form. She is trapped in a loveless marriage to a stiff and conventional man, and then falls in love with a Japanese warrior and pays dearly for that passion. It is then that Mary’s real journey begins, as she begins to forge a new life for herself in Tokyo.
Through the story of three generations of women in her own family – the grandmother given to the warlord as a concubine, the Communist mother and the daughter herself – Jung Chang reveals the epic history of China’s twentieth century.
With its wild, dissolute, extravagant group of fossil hunters and philosophers, diplomats, dropouts, writers and explorers, missionaries, artists and refugees, Peking s foreign community in the early 20th century was as exotic as the city itself. Always a magnet for larger than life individuals, Peking attracted characters as diverse as Reginald Johnston (tutor to the last emperor), Bertrand Russell, Pierre Loti, Rabrindranath Tagore, Sven Hedin, Peter Fleming, Wallis Simpson and Cecil Lewis. The last great capital to remain untouched by the modern world, Peking both entranced and horrified its foreign residentHaving learned Mandarin, and travelling alone by foot, bicycle and train, Colin Thubron set off on a 10,000 mile journey from Beijing to the borders of Burma. He travelled through the wind-swept wastes of the Gobi desert and finished at the far end of the Great Wall.
Having learned Mandarin, and travelling alone by foot, bicycle and train, Colin Thubron set off on a 10,000 mile journey from Beijing to the borders of Burma. He travelled through the wind-swept wastes of the Gobi desert and finished at the far end of the Great Wall. What Thubron reveals is an astonishing diversity, a land whose still unmeasured resources strain to meet an awesome demand, and an ancient people still reeling from the devastation of the Cultural Revolution.
For a full listing of our 140 books set in China, please click on this link
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