Cascoly Books: China

Cascoly Books - China

  • Gods Chinese Son Jonathan D. Spence - The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan largest uprising in human history 1845-64, Confucian student ascends to heaven and returns convinced hes Jesus brother. Translated the gospel to Chinese, rewriting it to add stories that reflected his revelations. Proceeds to attack Manchu rulers of china starting a rebellion / civil war that would kill 20 million .

  • River Town - Two Years on the Yangtze -- Peter Hessler -- The author spends 2 years in the mid-90's teaching English in a town set to be flooded by the Yangtze - 3 Gorges Dam. Well-written, full of anecdotes, humor and keen cultural observation.
  • China Wakes -The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power - Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn -- The authors were newspaper reporters in Beijing during the late 1980's, including the Tiananmen massacre.  Their descriptions are one of the best preparations for a trip to China, even at this remove.  They alternate writing chapters, each concentrating on particular aspects of Chinese society. They document Chinas's swing from a left wing, Maoist-Trotskyite Communist totalitarian, isolationist state to a right wing authoritarian state trying to merge into a global economy.  The goals of world revolution, worker's control have been replaced with state capitalism, and limited forms of entrepreneurial capitalism, without significant political liberty.  Whether the next generations of China's leaders can maintain this precarious position remains to be seen.
  • Search for Modern China - Jonathan Spence - Excellent survey history of China.  Like China Wakes, he shows how much of modern history can best be understood in terms of China's past.


  • When We Were Orphans Kazuo Ishiguro -   set in the 1920's in revolutionary Shanghai. One of his best
  • Neal Stephenson - The Diamond Age

    More on China travels

  • CIA World Factbook for China

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