Books about Taiwan and China
- Confucius (551 B.C. - 479 B.C.)
- The Analects
- This book doesn't represent the beginning of Chinese culture, but it's probably the best place to begin reading about it. One of the world's most influential works. I recommend reading more than one translation of any Chinese philosophical work, because you'll stand a better chance of catching different facets of the text that way.
- Odoric of Pordenone (1265? - 1331)
- The Travels (c.1330)
- Odoric left Venice c.1317. He traveled through
Asia Minor, Persia, India, and China. He was beatified in 1755. I
have included only part of his text, but will add more if enough
people let me know they're interested.
- Sir John Mandeville
- The Travels of Sir John
Mandeville (c. 1357)
- This was a tremendously popular work in its day,
much more so than the Travels of Marco Polo. The author,
however, never went to China; and most of the book is a fanciful
plagiarism of Odoric and others. Thus, most of it is bullshit --
but extremely interesting and influential bullshit.
- George Psalmanazar (1679? - 1763)
- An Historical and
Geographical Description of Formosa (1705)
- Psalmanazar, a European, succeeded for several
years in passing himself off as a native of Taiwan, a place he had
never visited and knew next to nothing about. Luckily for him, that
was more than anyone else in England knew at the time. Camels!
Elephants! Human sacrifices! An invented language! Excerpts from
this well-written and fun book.
- Herbert A. Giles (1845 - 1935)
- Giles is best known for his work on the
Wade-Giles system for romanizing Mandarin, a revision of an earlier
system by Sir Thomas Francis Wade (1818-95), whom he succeeded as
professor of Chinese at Cambridge.
Giles served as a British consular official in various parts of
China from 1867-92. He was first posted to in Taiwan 1867. He also
served as British Consul at Tamsui (Tanshui/Danshui) from
- Chinese Sketches
- Religions of Ancient China
- The Civilization of
- China and the Manchus
- Arthur Judson Brown (1856 - 1963)
- New Forces in Old China
- Isaac Taylor Headland (1859 - 1942)
- The Chinese Boy and Girl
- Chinese children's games, rhymes, and
- Court Life in China
- Der Ling
- Two Years in the Forbidden
- Der Ling, the daughter of a high-ranking Manchu
official, received a Western education. After returning to China
from France, she served as first lady-in-waiting to the Empress
Dowager Cixi until March 1905. In 1907 she married an
- Marian Keith (1876 - 1961)
- The Black-Bearded Barbarian
- Biography of George Mackay (1844-1901), an
influential Presbyterian missionary in northern Taiwan
- George F. Kerr (1911 - )
- Formosa Betrayed
- A damning indictment of the KMT administration in
Taiwan in the years immediately following World War II.
- Peng Ming-min (1923 - )
- A Taste of Freedom (1972)
- An autobiographical work by one of Taiwan's most
prominent fighters for democracy.
- Lin Dao-ming (T.C. Lin)
- Counting Mantou: An American in the Taiwanese army (forthcoming)
- T.C. Lin was born T.C. Locke to a non-Asian family in the United States, where he grew up. After visiting Taiwan, however, he decided he wanted to stay -- and was able to do so by becoming a citizen of the Republic of China. With citizenship came mandatory service in Taiwan's military, which is the subject of Lin's book, told from his unique perspective.
- John Ross (1968 - )
- Formosan Odyssey
- John Ross was born to British parents in New
Zealand in 1968. Since studying Geography at Auckland University he
has worked as a photo-journalist and teacher, and travelled
extensively in Burma, Papua New Guinea, South America, and
Mongolia. He has lived in Taiwan for six years.
- Steven Crook
- Keeping Up With the War God
- "A blend of travel narrative and commentary,
peppered with asides ranging from the caustic to the laudatory,
Keeping Up With the War God is an exploration of Taiwan by
a long-term resident who has often loved, and sometimes loathed,
the island -- but never felt bored there."