A New Illustrated History of Taiwan by Wan-yao Chou

This is a beautifully illustrated, clear, concise overview of the tumultuous history the country of Taiwan has experienced. Don’t be scared off by the page length of 469 pages as you will be delighted to know that almost every page has a photo on it. The photos are well chosen and give you an anchorpoint for the history you are reading about. It makes the history come alive on the pages.

I wish this book went into greater detail into the period of time from the 1960s to present day but it provides a great high level view of the important ‘stuff’. This book is expansive in other ways though; it goes as far back as prehistoric times. It also does a good job with detailing colonial times (the Dutch, Japanese time periods). I was truly saddened when I finished this book but have lots more books I’ve bought from the publisher SMC sitting on my shelf so I better get to it.

NOTE: I used to recommend Island In The Stream: A Quick Case Study Of Taiwan’s Complex History to those looking for a well-rounded Taiwanese history book but I believe I’ll change my recommendation to this one. Island in the Stream is a very basic outline of Taiwan’s history. It’s only 86 pages long though so it makes it an easy one for beginners learning about Taiwanese history.

I can’t wait until my daughter grows up and we can discuss Taiwanese history together over tea. She will have her experience of history as a native, and from the public school system while I have my understanding as an outsider and from books.

ISBN13: 9789576387845 Pages: 469 Buy from the publisher

My Rating: ★★★★★

My 2019 Reading Challenge: Book #21

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