Knoxville Travel Blog› entry 2 of 13 › view all entries
I can't seem to read just one book at a time.
I'm most of the way through Forgotten Kingdom by Peter Goullart, getting in the mood for Lijiang. He was born around the turn of the 20th century in Russia and fled with his mother eventually to Shanghai around the time of the Russian Revolution. He became a tour operator for American Express in China and eventually worked for the government in setting up industrial cooperatives in Southwestern China.
A Taoist, Goullart lived in "Likiang" as he called it for about nine years during the late '30s and into the '40s. His descriptions of his work and interaction, including a lot of medical care, with the local "Nakhis" and tradesmen from Tibet is fascinating. During the war years Lijiang was quite a trading post between Tibet and the rest of China. The book seems to be out of print but I found it online and downloaded it -- all 158 pages worth including a couple of dozen great period photographs.
The other book I'm reading is Peter Hessler's Oracle Bones, which came out recently. If you've read River Town or any of his articles in The New Yorker or other publications, you know what a wonderful writer he is. Highly recommended if you've been to, are going to, or are interested in China.