Books and Media:
Reviews on Culture and Heritage


Asian Culture,People and History

Building Shanghai: The Story of China's Gateway
by Denison, Edward & Guang Yu Ren

Shanghai has been one of China's premier cities for centuries, evolving from its recorded beginnings as an administrative centre in the 13th century to its undisputed position as China's chief trading centre today. In Building Shanghai, the remarkably turbulent and compelling story of this illustrious city is revealed for the first time through its architecture, character, form and urban development. Using previously unseen archive material and new photography, the book draws together a comprehensive narrative of Shanghai's history. The defining moments of its history, from the Opium Wars to the Cultural Revolution have been etched into the urban landscape and manifested through a fascinating architectural ensemble. This has, until now, never received systematic scrutiny from abroad.

Shanghai Love: Courtesans, Intellectuals, and Entertainment Culture, 1850-1910

by Yeh, Catherine

In this fascinating book, Catherine Yeh explores the Shanghai entertainment world at the close of the Qing dynasty. Established in the 1850s outside of the old walled city, the Shanghai Foreign Settlements were administered by Westerners and so were not subject to the strict authority of the Chinese government. Yeh shows how a fortuitous combination of people and circumstances, rather than official decisions or acts, created the first multicultural modern city in China. With illustrations from newspapers, novels, travel guides, and postcards, as well as contemporary written descriptions of life in foreign-driven, fast-paced, cutting-edge Shanghai, this study traces the mutual influences among courtesans, intellectuals, and the city itself in creating a modern, market-oriented leisure culture in China. Historians, literary specialists, art critics, and social scientists will welcome this captivating foray into the world of late 19th-century popular culture.

New Shanghai: The Rocky Rebirth of China's Legendary City

by Yatsko, Pamel

More than a travelogue, this book is a discursive and insightful account of the rapidly-changing Shanghai, which since the 1980s has shed its derelict look and re-emerged as a frenzied commercial and international metropolis. The city's present multi-identities are presented by the author, an experienced American journalist resident in Shanghai from 1995 to 1998.

Shanghai Down the Centuries (Panoramic China)

by Song Chao & Jiao Yang

The Panorama Series published by the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, China, focuses on a province, municipality or autonomous region and examines it from a number of perspectives. Shanghai has a relatively short history - just 700 years - but in the last century, its transformation has been phenomenal. Once a regional city, Shanghai has become a fiercely globalised metropolis and epitomises the modern, rapidly changing China. This richly illustrated book featuring many archival and recent photographs traces the development and expansion of this fascinating city and its commerce over the last hundred years and explores the reasons for its success.

Becoming Madame Mao: A Novel (Reprinted 2006)

by Min, Anchee

Here is a fictionalised account of the life of Chiang Ching, the ambitious wife of China's Chairman Mao. From the young, unwanted daughter of a concubine to the wayward, beautiful actress on the stages of Shanghai, to the ruthless, charismatic partner of the great revolutionary leader, Mao Zedong, Anchee Min moves seamlessly from the intimately personal to the broad sweep of world history. This is a fascinating portrait of an extraordinary woman driven by ambition, betrayal and a desperate need to be loved. Finely nuanced and always ambiguous, Min has produced a stirring, surprising and erotically-charged story of one of history's most vilified women.

China's Republic
by Lary, Diana

Twenty-first century China is emerging from decades of war and revolution into a new era. Yet the past still haunts the present. The ideals of the Chinese Republic, which was founded almost a century ago after 2000 years of imperial rule, still resonate as modern China edges towards openness and democracy. Diana Lary traces the history of the Republic from its beginnings in 1912 through to civil war with the Peoples' Liberation Army, which ended in defeat in 1949. Thereafter, in an unusual excursion from traditional histories of the period, she considers how the Republic survived on in Taiwan, comparing its ongoing prosperity with the economic and social decline of the Communist mainland in the Mao years. Diana Lary is a Professor of History who has been teaching and supervising MA and PhD candidates of Chinese history for many years. This experience has allowed her to find new insights and ideas for this introductory textbook for students and general readers. This book is enhanced with biographies of key protagonists and much supplementary information about Chinese culture.

Needles, Herbs, Gods and Ghosts: China Healing and the West to 1848

by Barnes, Linda L.

When did the West discover Chinese healing traditions? Most people might point to the "rediscovery" of Chinese acupuncture in the 1970s. In Needles, Herbs, Gods, and Ghosts, Linda Barnes leads us back, instead, to the 13th century to uncover the story of the West's earliest known encounters with Chinese understandings of illness and healing. Barnes traces this story through the mid-19th century in both Europe and the United States. She unearths numerous examples of Western missionaries, merchants, diplomats, and physicians in China, Europe, and America encountering and interpreting both Chinese people and their healing practices, and sometimes adopting their own versions of these practices, such as acupuncture, moxibustion, and pulse reading. With notes, abbreviations, bibliography and index.

The Genius of China, 3000 Years of Science, Discovery & Invention

by Temple, Robert

The immense and well known work "Science and Civilisation in China" by the British scientist, historian and sinologist Joseph Needham (1900-92) forms the basis of this book which was approved by Dr Needham on its first publication in 1986. This 2006 illustrated and revised third edition, which is in a way a distillation of Dr Needham's opus, introduces a selection of China's major discoveries and inventions in: agriculture; astronomy and cartography; engineering; domestic and industrial technology; medicine and health; mathematics; magnetism; physical sciences; transport and exploration; sound and music; and warfare with early invention of weapons of mass destruction. With colour illustrations, dynastic chronology, map, charts of time-lags between Chinese and western discoveries, and index.

The Search for a Vanishing Beijing, A Guide to China's Capital through the Ages

by Aldrich, M. A.

In The Search for a Vanishing Beijing, the author leads the reader through palaces, temples, back streets and markets of the city while bringing back to living memory forgotten or overlooked Peking customs, stories and beliefs. The narrative touches on everything under the sun as the reader walks from Tian An Men Square through the surrounding neighbourhoods and further to sights in rustic settings. It relates stories about imperial customs, street food, temple festivals, historic trees, Red Guard "struggle sessions", residences of famous Chinese and foreigners, ghosts, and more. Interspersed throughout the book are stories told by such diverse sources as Marco Polo and Bernard Shaw as well as 20th century Sinophiles like Juliet Bredon, George Kates and David Kidd. Commentary from Ming and Qing era travel guides are brought out for a Chinese perspective on celebrated locations in the city. With black-and-white photographs and illustrations.,s

China's Buried Kingdoms (Lost Civilisations)

by Brown, Dale M. (Editor)

A team of scholars has worked on this volume of the Time-Life series on ancient civilizations. High quality photographs and an accessible account of the archaeological discoveries is given for each of the epochs discussed - the 3000 year-old Shang civilization near Anyang; the Eastern Zhou of Henan; the discoveries in Xi'an especially the famed terra-cotta army; the tombs of Mount Ling near Beijing; and the Changsha discoveries including the 2000 year-old tomb of the Lady Xin. With general articles, bibliography and index.