Harry Franck died in 1962. This latest edition of his work consists of a few excerpts from his original Roving Through Southern China published in 1925. The original much larger book described two years of roving that took Franck as far as Yunnan, but these excerpts focus on the few months he and his family spent living in Canton in the winter of 1924. The excerpts are supplemented with some very useful footnotes from Paul French explaining some of the things Franck mentions that are no longer familiar to the modern reader.

China’s rise to global prominence is a pretty good contender for the most important world development in the past 30 years. But now the question is how Beijing managed to be successful on the international stage, let alone how large that success is—with fierce debates between hawks and doves in the West and elsewhere.

Death is an uncomfortable subject yet in all cultures and societies there are jobs like undertakers and pathologists that deal with it on a daily basis. In the Chinese countryside, funeral cryers are a big part of the way people mourn death. Wenyan Lu’s debut novel, The Funeral Cryer, centers around a middle-aged woman in northeast China who goes into this profession to put food on the table when no one else in her family seems to be able to lift a hand. Lu’s book is a heartwarming story about death, but also life, love and finding hope.

The Army of the Manchu Empire: The Conquest Army and the Imperial Army of Qing China, 1600-1727, Michael Fredholm von Essen (Helion, April 2024)
The Army of the Manchu Empire: The Conquest Army and the Imperial Army of Qing China, 1600-1727, Michael Fredholm von Essen (Helion, April 2024)

New research on an army that details the military system of Qing China, which fought a variety of enemies ranging from Ming Chinese, Mongols, and Tibetans to Russians and Western Colonial armies.

A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words. A Danger Shared is a collection of photographs taken by Melville Jacoby, an American exchange student and later war correspondent in China, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines (for Henry Luce’s Time and Life magazines) in the mid-to-late 1930s and early 1940s. Author Bill Lascher’s text accompanying the photographs tells Jacoby’s story against the background of the gathering storm, and later when the storm breaks over the Asia-Pacific.  

The food of Taiwan has been the subject of a number of recent books, such as Frankie Gaw’s First Generation and Clarissa Wei’s Made in Taiwan. Chop Fry Watch Learn by Michelle King joins them, although it is a scholarly work, rather than providing recipes. While the first  two do also include cultural, historical, and personal background, Michelle King’s work delves deeper as it follows the journey of Fu Pei-Mei, one of the first TV presenters on food and author of bilingual Chinese cookbooks.

Deng Xiaoping’s 1992 Southern Tour has become a milestone in Chinese economic history. Historians and commentators credit Deng’s visit to Guangzhou Province for reinvigorating China’s market reforms in the years following 1989—leading to the Chinese economic powerhouse we see today. Journalist Jonathan Chatwin follows Deng’s journey in The Southern Tour: Deng Xiaoping and the Fight for China’s Future.