1. Contemporary 2. Late Modern 2021 Asia ★★★☆☆ Reviews

From Rebel to Ruler

★★★☆☆ (2021)
My in-laws like to tell a story about when the communists came to town. Their home was in a small village just outside the county town, about 5 hours west of Beijing. In the 1930s and 1940s the town was overrun by the Japanese…

1. Contemporary 2. Late Modern 2019 Asia ★★★☆☆ Reviews

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister

★★★☆☆ (2019)
This is a book about the three most famous sisters in Chinese history: the Soong sisters. They were international celebrities: highly educated, politically pivotal and ridiculously rich. They embodied the changes and tensions of early twentieth century China as the country set its political engine-room to warp speed 9…

2. Late Modern 2021 Asia ★★★★☆ Reviews

The Last Embassy

★★★★☆ (2021)
“The Dutch present ships have arrived at the Tiger’s Mouth, like tall inns on the oyster-shell mirror of the water, a joyful noise ringing out.
They’re filled with precious offerings, but first they must transmit their official document, wrapped in gold.
Wang Wengao 王文诰

2. Late Modern 2021 3. Early Modern 4. Middle Ages Asia ★★☆☆☆ Reviews

Empire of Silver

★★☆☆☆ (2021)
Silver mining is not an easy job – when you dig the raw ore out of the ground it typically contains less than 0.1% silver – 1 part in a thousand. You then have to go through a laborious process of discarding the the 0.99% that you don’t want and turning that precious 0.1% into something shiny, attractive and valuable. Reading the financial history book “Empire of Silver: a new monetary history of China” by Jin Xu can feel a bit like mining silver. The valuable nuggets of insight can feel very laborious to extract. After you have finished you will have a little pile of intellectual treasures but many readers may feel that the payoff was not worth the effort.