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Insider China
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Insider China

 

Insider China
by Lifeng Han with Emma Lejun Wu and Hua Cai

fully illustrated in full colour with photographs and original drawings
320 pages, 234 x 175
ISBN 978-1-904737-1-79

£14.50

Click on the links below to see some sample pages

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This is a truly fascinating portrayal of Chinese life and culture. Here you have the real insider's knowledge of China and things Chinese, a vast range both ancient and modern. This book offers a window on the knowledge of Chinese culture, history, personalities, events, beliefs and customs that Chinese people have simply because they are Chinese. The overall theme of this book is insider knowledge of a different culture, with all its contradictions, good and bad, courteous and cruel, new and old, replacement and retention.

Any book about Chinese culture can only hope to present a cross-section of this vast country and some books make a better job of it than others. Insider China, the new title from Lexus Publishing, has possibly the best overall selection of topics of any book currently on the market.

The most refreshing thing about Insider China is that it aims primarily to include the modern era. The book starts with A Bing, one of China's best known musicians of the 20th Century. It covers dozens of actors, architects, writers and politicians, setting them in context through informative cross-references relating to history and society. The article on Mao Zedong looks not only at his life but at how he is regarded by different generations today.

But Insider China also deals thoroughly with broader themes, from fengshui to the One Child Policy, from the Falun Gong to migrant workers. It is not an encyclopedia and yet it has the depth of information you might expect in such a work. Further, the book includes some items simply because they are basic to everyday life, whether they be zongzi (dumplings), peonies or the gaokao (higher education test). The whole theme of the book is to present the people and influences that Chinese are familiar with from childhood in a way that binds them to the culture as a whole.

Even if you regard this simply as a book to dip into at leisure, Insider China sets a new standard in books about Chinese culture. With colour illustrations on nearly every page and an array of information that contains many surprises, this book would be ideal for students, teachers, libraries and anyone who wants to know more about China, or thinks they already do.

CHINA BOOKS, Melbourne, Australia