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China (National Geographic Traveler) --A Review

Author: Damian Harper

ISBN: 978-1-4262-0035-9

This beautiful guide makes the vast enigma of China accessible to every traveler. Filled with a myriad of useful information and travel tips, it features cut-away illustrations of renowned structures, detailed maps, and sumptuous photographs. Broken into chapters by cities and areas, it describes the best sites throughout the country, including Beijing; dynamic, modern Shanghai; the fertile Yangtze region; Guilin and its fabled limestone pillars; Tibet; the Silk Road; Inner Mongolia; Hong Kong; and Macau, all prefaced by an elaborate introduction to the rich Chinese history and culture. Extensive sidebars discuss Chinese deities, the Taiping Rebellion, Tibetan Buddhism, and more, while guided tours include a bike ride from Tiananmen Square and a cruise along the Yangtze River. An extensive travel planner details practicalities, including where to find the most gracious hotels and the best Peking duck and dim sum.

This wonderful book has been written truly on the western traveler's point of view, by a western author! As a Chinese reader, or especially Chinese government may feel uncomfortable about some topics like Tibet or communist party. The author is very sensitive on the European colonization history in China, he pays a lot attentions to the concessions, treaty ports, European style buildings, Christian churches, invasions which happened or built during last century and still survives on any resort.

As a Chinese, I have never heard of the mountains of Lushan in Jianxi province ever being a paradise of westerners. The author wrote:

At the end of the 19th century, Europeans and Americans came in droves to clement Lushan in Jiangxi Province to escape the oppressive summer heat of nearby Jiujiang and the Yangtze River. Their houses remain, symbolic of a vanished era. As with other foreign centers in China, Lushan was almost a complete society, with post offices, hospitals, schools, and its own police force. Residents bought their provisions from stores along the road called the Gap.

A Chinese reader as I needn't to read this kind of books for tourism information, maybe just for fun, or maybe for spying some secret mind of a western people. Albeit, this book worth reading, especially for anybody preparing to explore this grand country.

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