Suggested Reading List
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
Author: Jung Chang
Description: Blending the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history, Wild Swans has become a bestselling classic in thirty languages, with more than ten million copies sold. The story of three generations in twentieth-century China, it is an engrossing record of Mao's impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love.
Jung Chang describes the life of her grandmother, a warlord's concubine; her mother's struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her parents' experience as members of the Communist elite and their ordeal during the Cultural Revolution. Chang was a Red Guard briefly at the age of fourteen, then worked as a peasant, a "barefoot doctor," a steelworker, and an electrician. As the story of each generation unfolds, Chang captures in gripping, moving -- and ultimately uplifting -- detail the cycles of violent drama visited on her own family and millions of others caught in the whirlwind of history.
Tao Te Ching
Author: Lao Tzu
Description: In what may be the most faithful translation of the Tao Te Ching, the translators have captured the terse, enigmatic beauty of the original masterpiece without embellishing it with personal interpretation or bogging it down with explanatory notes. By stepping out of the way and letting the original text speak for itself, they deliver a powerfully direct experience of the Tao Te Ching that is a joy to come back to again and again.
And for the first time in any translation of the Tao Te Ching, now you can interact with the text to experience for yourself the nuanced art of translating. In each of the eighty-one chapters, one significant line has been highlighted and alongside it are the original Chinese characters with their transliteration. You can then turn to the glossary and translate this line on your own, thereby deepening your understanding of the original text and of the myriad ways it can be translated into English.
Complementing the text are twenty-three striking ink paintings brushed by Stephen Addiss and an introduction by the esteemed Asia scholar Burton Watson.
An Introduction to Confucianism
Author: Yao, Xinzhong
Description: Taking into account the long history and wide range of Confucian Studies, this book introduces Confucianism - initiated in China by Confucius (551 BC–479 BC) - primarily as a philosophical and religious tradition. It pays attention to Confucianism in both the West and the East, focussing on the tradition's doctrines, schools, rituals, sacred places and terminology, but also stressing the adaptations, transformations and new thinking taking place in modern times. Xinzhong Yao presents Confucianism as a tradition with many dimensions and as an ancient tradition with contemporary appeal. This gives the reader a richer and clearer view of how Confucianism functioned in the past and of what it means in the present. A Chinese scholar based in the West, he draws together the many strands of Confucianism in a style accessible to students, teachers, and general readers interested in one of the world's major religious traditions.
Author: Wong, Eva
Description: The first complete, in-depth course in the traditional Chinese art of harmonious design for interiors, buildings, and sites—including instructions for making your own geomantic compass for feng-shui readings. Deeply rooted in Taoist and shamanic origins, feng-shui is not simply a list of directives for building auspicious structures or arranging interiors for good luck. It is the art of reading the patterns of the universe and living in harmony with the environment. With 200 photos and diagrams.
The Chinese Dream: The Rise of the World's Largest Middle Class and What It Means to You
Author: Wang, Helen
Description: In The Chinese Dream, a groundbreaking book about the rising middle class in China, the award-winning author Helen H. Wang challenges us to recognize that some of our fears about China are grossly misplaced. As a result of China's new capitalist paradigm, a burgeoning middle class-calculated to reach 800 million within the next fifteen years-is jumping aboard the consumerism train and riding it for all it's worth-a reality that may provide the answer to America's economic woes. And with China's increasing urbanization and top-down governmental approach, it now faces increasing energy, environmental, and health problems-problems that the U.S. can help solve. Through timely interviews, personal stories, and a historical perspective, China-born Wang takes us into the world of the Chinese entrepreneurial middle class to show how a growing global mindset and the realization of unity in diversity may ultimately provide the way to creating a saner, safer world for all.
Through this eye-opening book, Wang widens our understanding of China today and shows how this new class of upwardly mobile young people, who have modern ambitions and a growing global consciousness, are beginning to drive China toward a new and different future.
To gain a clear view of the impact of this new middle class, Wang provides us with interviews of executives of foreign-owned firms, connected Communist party members, rural migrants who are seeing their dreams of a better life come to fruition, and young entrepreneurs who are becoming increasingly westernized, consuming as fast as the money pours in. She also provides us with a careful analysis of the social and political forces at work in society, as she takes us on a journey to many places in China that reflect her own life-changing experiences.
River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze
Author: Hessler, Peter
Description: In the heart of China's Sichuan province, amid the terraced hills of the Yangtze River valley, lies the remote town of Fuling. Like many other small cities in this ever-evolving country, Fuling is heading down a new path of change and growth, which came into remarkably sharp focus when Peter Hessler arrived as a Peace Corps volunteer, marking the first time in more than half a century that the city had an American resident. Hessler taught English and American literature at the local college, but it was his students who taught him about the complex processes of understanding that take place when one is immersed in a radically different society.
Poignant, thoughtful, funny, and enormously compelling, River Town is an unforgettable portrait of a city that is seeking to understand both what it was and what it someday will be.
Memoirs from the Beijing Film Academy: The Genesis of China's Fifth Generation
Author: Ni, Zhen and Berry, Chris
Description: After graduating from the Beijing Film Academy in 1982, directors like Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou transformed Chinese cinema with Farewell My Concubine, Yellow Earth, Raise the Red Lantern, and other international successes. Memoirs from the Beijing Film Academy tells the riveting story of this class of 1982, China’s famous "Fifth Generation" of filmmakers. It is the first insider’s account of this renowned cohort to appear in English. Covering these directors’ formative experiences during China’s tumultuous Cultural Revolution and later at the Beijing Film Academy, Ni Zhen—who was both their screenwriter and teacher—provides unique insights into the origins of the Fifth Generation’s creativity. Drawing on his personal knowledge and interviews conducted especially for this volume, Ni Zhen demonstrates the diversity of the Fifth Generation. He comments on the breadth of styles and themes explored by its members and introduces a range of male and female directors, cinematographers, and production designers famous in China but less well-known internationally. The book contains vivid descriptions of the production processes of two pioneering films—One and Eight and Yellow Earth.
The Open Empire: A History of China Through 1600
Author: Hansen, Valerie
Description: The Open Empire presents a fresh approach to Chinese history in the premodern period, drawing on stunning evidence from recent archaeological finds and exciting currents in scholarship.
Departing from the dynastic structure typical of other histories, Valerie Hansen charts the broad social changes that transcend the artificial chronological boundaries of dynasties, enriching her narrative with discussions of everyday life in the distant past. Peopling the pages are nobles, peasants, women, students, writers, and rebels--all offering their own distinct and colorful perspective. Illuminating the many ways in which Chinese society has been influenced by foreign cultures, The Open Empire depicts China as a country with a dynamic, open history.
The Search for Modern China
Author: Spence, Jonathan D.
Description: The leading textbook by the leading scholar.
This text, the classic introduction to modern China for students and general readers, emerged from Spence’s highly successful introductory course at Yale, in which he traced the beginnings of modern China to internal developments beginning in the early 17th century. Strong on social and political history, as well as Chinese culture and its intersections with politics, this paperback is a longstanding leader in the survey course on modern China.