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TAUCK WORLD DISCOVERY

China, Yangtze River & Hong Kong

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Books for

Enrich your travels with reading! Here's a hand-picked list prepared for your journey in conjunction with the book experts at Longitude.

Essential Reading

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Understanding China

Understanding China

by John Bryan Starr

  • HISTORY
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 400 PAGES

A Yale professor's essential primer on the history, politics and economy of China. A succinct and refreshingly forthright best-selling guide, this third edition brings us right up to date with events in the rapidly evolving nation. (CHN196, $17.95)

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

by Jan Morris

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 1997
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

A wonderful portrait of Hong Kong by one of our favorite travel writers. Morris enumerates the many personal pleasures of the city, deftly interweaving reportage, history and culture. (HKG02, $17.00)

Before the Deluge, The Vanishing World of the Yangtze's Three Gorges

Before the Deluge, The Vanishing World of the Yangtze's Three Gorges

by Deirdre Chetham

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 306 PAGES

A vivid portrait of the Three Gorges region of the Upper Yangtze River, by the director of the Asia Center at Harvard. Chetham offers a personal, detailed glimpse into the daily life along the river, its spectacular natural beauty and checkered history, including recent efforts to tame it. (CHN132, $26.00)

Lonely Planet Discover China

Lonely Planet Discover China

by Lonely Planet

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 448 PAGES

Focusing on must-see and memorable places and experiences, this all-color guide by the discerning editors at Lonely Planet features hundreds of color photographs and maps, suggested tours and itineraries along with not-to-be-missed places to stay, eat, shop and see. (CHN674, $27.99)

China Central Map

China Central Map

by Gizi Map

  • 2010
  • MAP

This detailed map shows the most visited sites in China from Beijing and Shanghai to Chengdu, Chongqing and the Three Gorges to Xi'an and Lanzhou. (CHN431, $14.95)

 
China Adventure Map

China Adventure Map


by National Geographic

  • 2011
  • MAP

A double-sided, full-color map of China, at a useful scale of 1:4,375,000, which shows roads and cities. Printed on tear- and water-resistant paper. (CHN06, $11.95)

Yangzi River Map

Yangzi River Map


by Richard Perry Hayman

  • 2003
  • MAP

Double-sided, this full-color map guide features photos and ten maps showing the Yangzi from the Himalayas to the East China Sea. (CHN177, $14.95)

Culture Smart! China

Culture Smart! China


by Kathy Flower

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 168 PAGES

This is a handy guide to local customs, etiquette and culture. (CHN434, $9.95)

Culture Smart! Hong Kong

Culture Smart! Hong Kong


by Clare Vickers

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 168 PAGES

A concise, well-illustrated and practical guide to local customs, etiquette and culture. (HKG24, $9.95)

Pocket Rough Guide Hong Kong

Pocket Rough Guide Hong Kong


by Rough Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 176 PAGES

By the savvy editors at Rough Guide, these just-right guides are bundled with a pullout map. (HKG43, $12.99)

Beijing Welcomes You

Beijing Welcomes You


by Tom Scocca

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 432 PAGES

Visitors to China today are drawn not just to its ancient temples and dramatic mountainscapes, but also to the spectacle of its immense cities, the engines of its famous economic rise. Tom Scocca's memoir of urban transformation in Beijing covers the social and economic background of the boom -- a personal reflection on a city where everything -- even the weather -- can be redesigned. (CHN712, $16.00)

Beijing, Contemporary and Imperial

Beijing, Contemporary and Imperial


by Lois Conner

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2014
  • HARD COVER
  • 156 PAGES

Taken over a 30-year period, internationally-celebrated photographer Lois Conner's black-and-white panoramas explore Beijing's dramatic transformation from an ancient dynastic city to a modern capital of concrete and steel. (CHN755, $50.00)

China in the 21st Century

China in the 21st Century


by Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 224 PAGES

Wasserstrom puts China's policies, industrialization and international relations in the context of its history and culture in this concise, illuminating introduction. Second edition. (CHN587, $16.95)

China, A Photographic Journey Through the Middle Kingdom

China, A Photographic Journey Through the Middle Kingdom


by Gu Guo

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2010
  • HARD COVER
  • 243 PAGES

This miniature edition of the oversized original includes the same 243 dramatic color photos and 12 panoramic foldout pages, showing China's monuments and landscapes. (CHN627, $17.50)

Postcards from Tomorrow Square

Postcards from Tomorrow Square


by James Fallows

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

Ranging from politics to society and business, these richly observed, candid essays capture the complexity, tumult and promise of modern China. A correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, where these essays first appeared, Fallows and his wife moved to China in 2006. (CHN559, $15.00)

Shanghai, The Rise and Fall of the Decadent City 1842-1949

Shanghai, The Rise and Fall of the Decadent City 1842-1949


by Stella Dong

  • HISTORY
  • 2001
  • PAPER
  • 318 PAGES

A riveting portrait of "the most pleasure-mad, rapacious, corrupt, strife-ridden, licentious, squalid and decadent city in the world." (CHN128, $15.99)

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City


by Geremie R. Barme | Mary Beard

  • HISTORY
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

A compact, elegant volume in Harvard's excellent Wonders of the World series, this pocket history illuminates the culture, mystique, architecture and politics of imperial Beijing. Fittingly, the book opens with Mao's symbolic address from the Gate of Heavenly Peace. (CHN468, $16.00)

The Great Wall, China Against the World, 1000 BC - 2000 AD

The Great Wall, China Against the World, 1000 BC - 2000 AD


by Julia Lovell

  • HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 412 PAGES

The Who, Why and Wherefore of the Great Wall, this marvelous history demolishes myths (no, the wall is not a continuous structure of great antiquity, as much of it was built in the 1600s) with fresh insight and wit. (CHN308, $15.00)

The People's Republic of Amnesia, The Legacy of Tiananmen Square

The People's Republic of Amnesia, The Legacy of Tiananmen Square


by Louisa Lim

  • HISTORY
  • 2014
  • HARD COVER
  • 224 PAGES

NPR China correspondent Lim evaluates the impact of the Tiananmen Square Massacre through the interwoven stories of eight individuals involved in and shaped by the events of June 4th, 1989. (CHN758, $24.95)

Search for Ancient China

Search for Ancient China


by Corinne Debaine-Francfort

  • ARCHAEOLOGY
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 160 PAGES

With information on everything from jewelry to emperors' tombs and terracotta warriors, the Great Wall and the dazzling 400-year history of the Han Empire, this shirt-pocket survey of discovery features 150 illustrations. (CHN69, $15.95)

The River at the Center of the World

The River at the Center of the World


by Simon Winchester

  • EXPLORATION
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 410 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

With ease and grace, Winchester writes about the character of the Yangtze and the people and places along its banks. An absorbing portrait of the great river which flows through the heart of China. (CHN31, $17.00)

Beijing Time

Beijing Time


by Michael Dutton

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

Dutton's exuberant scholarly analysis of the people, neighborhoods, monuments and transformation of contemporary Beijing includes his charming black-and-white photographs. (CHN467, $19.50)

China Road

China Road


by Rob Gifford

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 368 PAGES

NPR's Gifford writes with warmth and affection of his encounters with truckers, small farmers and regular folk along fabled Route 312 from Shanghai to the border of Kazakhstan. (CHN433, $17.00)

Country Driving

Country Driving


by Peter Hessler

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 480 PAGES

Opening with an eventful 7,000-mile road trip across northern China, Peter Hessler (River Town, Oracle Bones) shows the absurdity, humor and hope of China in this latest portrait of a nation catapulted into the modern world. (CHN600, $15.99)

Dreaming in Chinese, Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language

Dreaming in Chinese, Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language


by Deborah Fallows

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 208 PAGES

A linguist, living in Shanghai and Beijing with her journalist-husband James (Postcards from Tomorrow Square) the exuberant Deborah Fallows illuminates the Chinese worldview through language in playful, anecdotal essays, documenting her own missteps and growing understanding with self-deprecating humor. (CHN648, $14.00)

Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong


by Jonathan Spence

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 192 PAGES

Yale sinologist, writer and historian Spence tracks the life of the architect of the People's Republic from his provincial upbringing to his savage three-decade rule. (CHN66, $15.00)

River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze

River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze


by Peter Hessler

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 432 PAGES

Hessler's compelling, personal story of life as a Peace Corps volunteer in Fuling, where foreigners are a curiosity, explores the culture, traditions and ideas of an isolated world. (CHN125, $19.99)

The Last Days of Old Beijing, Tales from the New City

The Last Days of Old Beijing, Tales from the New City


by Michael Meyer

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 368 PAGES

Meyer's lovely memoir of the hutong (ancient lane) where he taught school captures the rhythms, traditions and spirit of Beijing's traditional neighborhoods south of Tiananmen. (CHN493, $18.00)

Wild Swans, Three Daughters of China

Wild Swans, Three Daughters of China


by Jung Chang

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 524 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

In this riveting tale of three generations spanning the end of Old China, Mao's regime and the Japanese occupation, Chang chronicles the enormous changes in China since 1929. (CHN04, $18.00)

A Single Pebble

A Single Pebble


by John Hersey

  • LITERATURE
  • 1989
  • PAPER
  • 181 PAGES

A haunting novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winner. Hersey writes, with deceptive simplicity, of an American engineer looking for a dam site on the Yangtze. Think Hemingway on the Yangtze. (CHN03, $15.00)

China, A Traveler's Literary Companion

China, A Traveler's Literary Companion


by Kirk Denton

  • ANTHOLOGY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 231 PAGES

An introduction both to China's finest modern writers and its diverse cultures, concerns and landscapes, organized geographically. (CHN520, $14.95)

Death of a Red Heroine

Death of a Red Heroine


by Qiu Xiaolong

  • MYSTERY
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 464 PAGES

Marvelously evocative of Shanghai and tremendously informative about China's transition towards a market economy in the 1990s, Inspector Chen of the Shanghai Police must find the murderer of a National Model Worker in this award-winning debut. The series continues with A Loyal Character Dancer (CHN412). (CHN374, $15.95)

Empress Orchid

Empress Orchid


by Anchee Min

  • LITERATURE
  • 2005
  • PAPER
  • 346 PAGES

In this novel of the glorious, decadent last days of 19th-century Imperial China, Min (Red Azalea, Becoming Madame Mao) combines her tale of a young girl from the provinces who marries an emperor -- and then improbably becomes the Last Empress -- with a lovingly re-created portrait of life in the Forbidden City. (CHN267, $14.00)

Five Star Billionaire

Five Star Billionaire


by Tash Aw

  • LITERATURE
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 416 PAGES

The celebrated Malaysian author brings his characters together in gritty, glamorous and very cosmopolitan 21st-century Shanghai to wheel and deal and make their fortunes. A harrowing piece of contemporary literature. (CHN740, $16.00)

Night in Shanghai

Night in Shanghai


by Nicole Mones

  • LITERATURE
  • 2014
  • HARD COVER
  • 288 PAGES

This historical novel set in 1930s China focuses on an expat jazz musician and his love affair with a young spy. Their romance is tested by the approach of WWII and the pressures of a rich, powerful, pleasure-hungry city. (CHN763, $25.00)

The Ballad of a Small Player

The Ballad of a Small Player


by Lawrence Osborne

  • LITERATURE
  • 2014
  • HARD COVER
  • 272 PAGES

In this riveting novel, Osborne immerses the reader in the psychology of a gambler entrenched the underworld of Macau's casinos. Hong Kong and Macau outside of the gambling scene are depicted with great accuracy and allure. (HKG47, $25.00)

Chinese Wildlife

Chinese Wildlife


by Martin Walters

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 208 PAGES

This compact introduction to birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and plants found from the Tibetan plateau to the deserts, tropical forests and mountains includes 200 color photographs. (CHN440, $26.99)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.