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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)

The Terracotta Army of the First Emperor of China

The Terracotta Army of the First Emperor of China

by William Lindesay

  • HISTORY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 32 PAGES

A beautiful introduction to the extraordinary tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, First Emperor of China, this concise visual overview features richly colored illustrations and photographs accompanied by detailed captions. (CHN126, $12.95)

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)

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 10 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)

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)

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)

Postcards from Tomorrow Square

Postcards from Tomorrow Square


by James Fallows

  • HISTORY
  • 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)

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, From Beginning to End

The Great Wall, From Beginning to End


by Michael Yamashita | William Lindesay

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2007
  • HARD COVER
  • 192 PAGES
  • CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE
  • >

Lindesay's informative text accompanies 160 photographs by Yamashita, who spent a year photographing along the 4,000-mile length of the iconic barrier. (CHN451, $29.95)

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)

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)

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)

Waiting

Waiting


by Ha Jin

  • LITERATURE
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 308 PAGES

A spare, haunting story of a military doctor who tries for 18 years to divorce his peasant wife so he can marry a more sophisticated nurse at his hospital. Greatly evocative of quotidian life in China during the Cultural Revolution and after. (CHN80, $16.00)

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.