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Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation, or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squidby J Maarten Troost
Lost on Planet China is a must-read. The book, like its subject matter, contains multitudes. It's a travel-history-political-business-humor book. Roll Bill Bryson, Daniel Boorstin, and Thomas Friedman together and you get an idea of the scope of Troost's talents.
Synopses & Reviews
The bestselling author of The Sex Lives of Cannibals returns with a sharply observed, hilarious account of his adventures in Chinaa complex, fascinating country with enough dangers and delicacies to keep him, and readers, endlessly entertained.
Maarten Troost has charmed legions of readers with his laugh-out-loud tales of wandering the remote islands of the South Pacific. When the travel bug hit again, he decided to go big-time, taking on the worlds most populous and intriguing nation. In Lost on Planet China, Troost escorts readers on a rollicking journey through the new beating heart of the modern world, from the megalopolises of Beijing and Shanghai to the Gobi Desert and the hinterlands of Tibet.
Lost on Planet China finds Troost dodging deadly drivers in Shanghai; eating Yak in Tibet; deciphering restaurant menus (offering local favorites such as Cattle Penis with Garlic); visiting with Chairman Mao (still dead, very orange); and hiking (with 80,000 other people) up Tai Shan, Chinas most revered mountain. But in addition to his trademark gonzo adventures, the book also delivers a telling look at a vast and complex country on the brink of transformation that will soon shape the way we all work, live, and think. As Troost shows, while we may be familiar with Yao Ming or dim sum or the cheap, plastic products that line the shelves of every store, the real China remains a worldindeed, a planet--unto itself.
Maarten Troost brings China to life as youve never seen it before, and his insightful, rip-roaringly funny narrative proves that once again he is one of the most entertaining and insightful armchair travel companions around.
"In his latest, veteran traveler Troost (The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Getting Stoned with Savages) embarks on an extended tour of 'the new wild west,' China. Troost travels from the megalopolis of Beijing to small, remote trails in the hinterlands, the fabled Shangri-La and all points in between, allowing for a substantive look at an incredibly complex culture. He does an admirable job of summing up the country's rich history, venturing to Nanjing to learn about China's deep-seated animosity toward Japan; he also visits the Forbidden City, and the tomb of Mao Zedong, still very much revered despite his horrific record of human rights abuses. Gross disparity in wealth, omnipresent pollution and the teeming mass of humanity that greet Troost at every opportunity wear on him and the reader alike; the sense of claustrophobia only relents when he gets into more remote areas. Throughout, Troost is refreshingly upbeat, without a hint of ugly American elitism; he often steps aside to let the facts speak for themselves, and rarely devolves into complaints over the language barrier or other day-to-day frustrations. Those looking for tips on Hong Kong night life or other touristy secrets will be disappointed-few names are named-but readers interested in a warts-and-all look at this complicated, evolving country will find this a rich education." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Troost, best known for his off-the-wall books about his life in remote tropical regions, now takes on the mystery of China. He traveled from Hong Kong to Tibet, the Gobi Desert, Beijing, Shanghai, and dozens of stops in between, and he relates his experiences in a tone of confused bemusement, not intended to be objective. He is challenged by the food and overwhelmed by the level of industrialization and pollution, and the people he meets tend to either want to sell him something or tell him something he doesn't understand. This is a book for the armchair traveler who needs a reason not to go to China. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Taking on the world's most populous and intriguing nation, Troost escorts readers on a rollicking journey through the new beating heart of the modern world, from the megalopolises of Beijing and Shanghai to the Gobi desert and the hinterlands of Tibet.
Maarten Troost has charmed and entertained thousands of readers with his tales of wandering among the remote islands of the South Pacific. When the travel bug hit again, he decided to go big–time, taking on the world’s most populous and intriguing nation. In Lost on Planet China, Troost escorts readers on a rollicking journey through the new beating heart of the modern world, from the megalopolises of Beijing and Shanghai to the Gobi desert and the hinterlands of Tibet.
With his trademark edge and self-deprecating wit, Troost deciphers restaurant menus (offering delicacies such as garlic cattle penis); visits with Chairman Mao (still dead, very orange); and hikes (with 80,000 other people) up Tai Shan, China’s most revered mountain. He learns to “fish for tigers” by dangling live chickens over Siberian tigers gathered in a pit below; studies Mandarin with a woman who may or may not be a “take-out girl;” and experiences the booming Chinese economy through its belching industrial towns—before North Korean border guards send him packing for home.
Lost on Planet China brings China to life as you've never seen it before, brilliantly confirming Troost’s status as the Bill Bryson of a new generation.
About the Author
J. MAARTEN TROOST is the author of Getting Stoned with Savages and The Sex Lives of Cannibals. His essays have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, and the Prague Post. He spent two years in Kiribati in the Equatorial Pacific and upon his return was hired as a consultant by the World Bank. After several years in Fiji and Vanuatu, he recently relocated to the U.S. and now lives with his wife and two sons in California.
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