Until the early twentieth century, Taiwan was one of the wildest places in Asia. Its coastline was known as a mariners' graveyard, the mountainous interior was the domain of headhunting tribes, while the lowlands were a frontier area where banditry, feuding, and revolts were a way of life. Formosan Odyssey captures the rich sweep of history through the eyes of Westerners who visited and lived on the island -- from missionaries, adventurers, lighthouse keepers, and Second World War PoWs, to students coming to study martial arts. It finishes with the story of Taiwan's economic miracle, the political transition from police state to vibrant democracy, and its continuing stand-off with China.
The author's travels, made around the island in the wake of the devastating 921 earthquake, and his experiences from five years of living in a small town, provide an intimate picture of modern Taiwan.
The island is a storehouse of Chinese and indigenous cultures, a fascinating mix of the new and the traditional, and likewise Formosan Odyssey is a smorgasbord of delights that both the general reader and any "old Asia hand" will find informative and amusing.
"The best Taiwan book I've ever read." -Vincent Stoia, author of Jin Village "A great primer for those curious about the rugged early history of Taiwan. The chapters on modern small-town life also score a high grade for their accuracy, humor, and cast of local eccentrics." -Robert Kelly, co-author of Taiwan Lonely Planet "I would make this required reading for anyone planning on staying in Taiwan for more than a year." -Ryan St. Onge, Taiwan East Coaster "Contains a mass of information in very readable form." -Bradley Winterton, The Taipei Times "New arrivals and long-termers alike will find plenty of interesting topics here." -Steven Crook, author of Keeping up with the War God and Taiwan Bradt Travel Guide "Edifying and entertaining. [...] I particularly enjoyed the chapters about foot-binding and cannibalism, and an account of a trip through the Taiwan's Taroko Gorge had me laughing out loud. The author's tone is conversational and familiar, and subdued quips work to offset some of Taiwan's more, shall we say, unique features." -Troy Parfitt, author of Why China Will Never Rule the World
Number Of Pages: 258
Published: 20th September 2016
Publisher: Camphor Press Ltd
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.97
Weight (kg): 0.33