If you enjoy reading while you travel and diving further into the culture check out these awesome Chinese history and culture books before your next trip. Here Is China Adventurers Top 10 Chinese History and Culture Books To Read while traveling in China.
By Rana Mitter
If you want to keep your Chinese History Reading brief so you only know the basics before you travel to China. This little book is great. Its and easy read and gives a great briefing on Chinese History.
By Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom
In the book China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know, the author Jeffrey Wasserstrom provides answers to the most urgent questions regarding China and all the changes it has gone leading up to the 21st Century. He covers the major historical legacies–Western and Japanese imperialism, the Mao era, and the massacre near Tiananmen Square–that largely define China’s present-day trajectory, Wasserstrom introduces readers to the Chinese Communist Party, the building boom in Shanghai, and the environmental fall-out of rapid Chinese industrialization.
By William Theodore De Bary
This little book covers a great collection of readings on the social, intellectual, and religious traditions of China. The Book is divided into four parts, Starting near the begining of the Chinese civilization with the Oracle-Bones of the late Shang dynasty (1571–1045 B.C.E.) and then continuing through to the Ming dynasty (C.E. 1644). This book is both historical as well as helpful traceing the Chinese Traditions back to their origin.
By Susan Whitfield
We’ve all heard of the Silk road, and if your traveling to In the first 1,000 years after Christ, merchants, missionaries, monks, mendicants, and military men traveled on the vast network of Central Asian tracks that became known as the Silk Road. Linking Europe, India, and the Far East, the route passed through many countries and many settlements, from the splendid city of Samarkand to tiny desert hamlets.
By Paul French
By Jack Weatherford
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World is a 2004 New York Times Best Seller book by Jack Weatherford. The book is very well written tells the true history of Genghis Khan, from the story of his relentless rise through Mongol tribal culture to the waging of his devastatingly successful wars and the explosion of civilization that the Mongol Empire unleashed.
By Michael Meyer
This is a great book about Beijing and the hutongs and culture that are quickly disappearing as the city becomes more and more modern. It’s “A fascinating, intimate portrait of Beijing through the lens of its oldest neighborhood, facing destruction as the city, and China, relentlessly modernizes.”
By Peter Hessler
In Oracle Bones, Peter Hessler explores the human side of China’s transformation, from the old traditions and customs to modern-day China and its growing influence with the Western world. In this narrative he explores the human side through a handful of people he meets and the story forms between the ancient and the present China.
By Frank Dikötter
Between 1958 and 1962, Mao Zedong threw his country into a frenzy with the Great Leap Forward, which was an attempt to catch up with the world and overtake Britain in less than 15 years. This experiment of Mao’s ended in the greatest catastrophe the country had ever experienced, destroying tens of millions of lives. This book can be a bit rough to get through but is a great book to further understanding China.
By Jonathan Spence
This is my favorite Chinese History book and was also the first Chinese History book I read. It covers more than four centuries of China’s epic history and the struggle that China has gone through and above all of the sheer capacity of the human spirit to endure. Jonathan Spence is a fantastic writer and is very skilled with showing the reader a world struggling to remake itself and establish harmony in light of recent events.
If you think i’m missing any great books let me know in the comments.
Has lived and traveled in China for the past 5 years which he has become well versed in the Chinese language, history, culture, and much more. When he isn't traveling he is living in Beijing; writing, doing kung fu, studying Chinese, playing guitar, working on his screenplays, having daily adventurers, and much more.
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