|Author||Charlton Lewis, Charlton M. Lewis, and W. Scott Morton|
I bought this as a textbook for a college course on Eastern culture. I have since read and re-read the book, cover to cover and in fragments. No matter which way I approach reading this book, I feel like I learn something new each time! A wonderful addition to my library.
John Ross, the author, writes of his personal travels zigzagging the island by foot, bicycle, train, etc. beginning with the massive earthquake of 1999. He uses his relatively modern travel narrative to weave in historical accounts of the island, mostly from western observers such as missionaries from the 1800s into the 1900s. While Ross clearly loves the island and its people, both the aborigines and the Han Chinese, he does not sugarcoat the environmental and other issues that have plagued its modern development. In the Afterward he observes that with the spectacular rise of living standards and the loosening of restrictions on dealing with the mainland, Taiwanese businessmen have moved massive amounts of industrial investment from Taiwan to China, weakening the island economically. The population is aging as families have too few children plus over a million Taiwanese now live on the mainland. I read that section just before going to bed and then had trouble sleeping as I thought of the parallels to our country.