100 books like Harvesting Mountains

By Robert Gardella,

Here are 100 books that Harvesting Mountains fans have personally recommended if you like Harvesting Mountains. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of China Made: Consumer Culture and the Creation of the Nation

Erika Rappaport Author Of A Thirst for Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World

From my list on understanding tea and other Chinese things.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Los Angeles, the mecca of global consumer culture. I became a historian to escape from what I saw as this shallow, surface culture but through my work, I have returned to the mall. My work uses history to show how consumer desires are not natural. Instead, I ask why people consume particular things in particular places, and I show how they attribute meaning to the things they buy. I am not a specialist on China but while researching and writing on tea's global political economy and consumer culture I became fascinated by how China contributed to the making of global tastes, desires, and material culture. These books illuminate the history and cultural life of tea, opium, porcelain, and other things within and beyond China.

Erika's book list on understanding tea and other Chinese things

Erika Rappaport Why did Erika love this book?

Gerth's sweeping research, eye for detail, and beautiful prose help us understand how the rejection of foreign commodities was critical to the creation of Chinese nationalism and state-building in the early twentieth century. Rather than reject consumer culture per se, the Government and businesses pushed the Chinese to consume only "Chinese" goods. This nationalistic consumer culture was built though with the same tools we find in the West--advertising, exhibitions, and fashion. Chinese consumer culture can be seen then as both global and local.

By Karl Gerth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked China Made as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Chinese people should consume Chinese products!" This slogan was the catchphrase of a movement in early twentieth-century China that sought to link consumption and nationalism by instilling a concept of China as a modern "nation" with its own "national products." From fashions in clothing to food additives, from museums to department stores, from product fairs to advertising, this movement influenced all aspects of China's burgeoning consumer culture. Anti-imperialist boycotts, commemorations of national humiliations, exhibitions of Chinese products, the vilification of treasonous consumers, and the promotion of Chinese captains of industry helped enforce nationalistic consumption and spread the message-patriotic Chinese bought…


Book cover of Tea in China: A Religious and Cultural History

Erika Rappaport Author Of A Thirst for Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World

From my list on understanding tea and other Chinese things.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Los Angeles, the mecca of global consumer culture. I became a historian to escape from what I saw as this shallow, surface culture but through my work, I have returned to the mall. My work uses history to show how consumer desires are not natural. Instead, I ask why people consume particular things in particular places, and I show how they attribute meaning to the things they buy. I am not a specialist on China but while researching and writing on tea's global political economy and consumer culture I became fascinated by how China contributed to the making of global tastes, desires, and material culture. These books illuminate the history and cultural life of tea, opium, porcelain, and other things within and beyond China.

Erika's book list on understanding tea and other Chinese things

Erika Rappaport Why did Erika love this book?

This is the book I had been waiting for and was so delighted when it appeared. It provides a fascinating and sweeping account of the meaning of tea in Chinese culture from its earliest appearance to the late imperial period. Benn has a wonderful eye for examples and delicious details that illuminate how religion, art, poetry, class, and gender created a commodity and culture that travelled around the world. A great place to start if you are interested in the history of tea or China.

By James A. Benn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tea in China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tea in China explores the contours of religious and cultural transformation in traditional China from the point of view of an everyday commodity and popularbeverage. Th e work traces the development of tea drinking from its mythical origins to the nineteenth century and examines the changes in aesthetics, ritual, science, health, and knowledge that tea brought with it.

Th e shift in drinking habits that occurred in late medieval China cannot be understood without an appreciation of the fact that Buddhist monks were responsible for not only changing people's attitudes toward the intoxicating substance, but also the proliferation of tea…


Book cover of The Social Life of Opium in China

Erika Rappaport Author Of A Thirst for Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World

From my list on understanding tea and other Chinese things.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Los Angeles, the mecca of global consumer culture. I became a historian to escape from what I saw as this shallow, surface culture but through my work, I have returned to the mall. My work uses history to show how consumer desires are not natural. Instead, I ask why people consume particular things in particular places, and I show how they attribute meaning to the things they buy. I am not a specialist on China but while researching and writing on tea's global political economy and consumer culture I became fascinated by how China contributed to the making of global tastes, desires, and material culture. These books illuminate the history and cultural life of tea, opium, porcelain, and other things within and beyond China.

Erika's book list on understanding tea and other Chinese things

Erika Rappaport Why did Erika love this book?

We know a lot about how the Chinese state sought to ban, limit, and exclude opium from its borders, but this book uniquely delves into the multifaceted way that the demand for the drug emerged in the first place and then spread down the social scale to become a mass commodity. I especially loved the detailed way in which the author showed how consumers produced a variety of meanings surrounding opium and incorporated it into both elite and popular culture. Writing against so many myths, Yangwen shows us that for much of its history, opium was celebrated not demonized.

By Zheng Yangwen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Social Life of Opium in China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a remarkable and broad-ranging narrative, Yangwen Zheng's book explores the history of opium consumption in China from 1483 to the late twentieth century. The story begins in the mid-Ming dynasty, when opium was sent as a gift by vassal states and used as an aphrodisiac in court. Over time, the Chinese people from different classes and regions began to use it for recreational purposes, so beginning a complex culture of opium consumption. The book traces this transformation over a period of five hundred years, asking who introduced opium to China, how it spread across all sections of society, embraced…


Book cover of Britain's Chinese Eye: Literature, Empire, and Aesthetics in Nineteenth-Century Britain

Erika Rappaport Author Of A Thirst for Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World

From my list on understanding tea and other Chinese things.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Los Angeles, the mecca of global consumer culture. I became a historian to escape from what I saw as this shallow, surface culture but through my work, I have returned to the mall. My work uses history to show how consumer desires are not natural. Instead, I ask why people consume particular things in particular places, and I show how they attribute meaning to the things they buy. I am not a specialist on China but while researching and writing on tea's global political economy and consumer culture I became fascinated by how China contributed to the making of global tastes, desires, and material culture. These books illuminate the history and cultural life of tea, opium, porcelain, and other things within and beyond China.

Erika's book list on understanding tea and other Chinese things

Erika Rappaport Why did Erika love this book?

Much of the Western world but especially eighteenth and nineteenth-century Britain obsessively purchased, collected, displayed, and thought about Chinese things. A brilliant literary critic, Elizabeth Chang traces this obsession through a wide variety of British texts from Sir William Chambers, Dissertation on Oriental Gardening (1772) to Isabella Bird's, Chinese Pictures (1904). Chang takes us on an intimate journey into a pleasurable yet imperialistic and often racist material culture that still shapes the way the West looks at and consumes Chinese products.

By Elizabeth Hope Chang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Britain's Chinese Eye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book traces the intimate connections between Britain and China throughout the nineteenth century and argues for China's central impact on the British visual imagination. Chang brings together an unusual group of primary sources to investigate how nineteenth-century Britons looked at and represented Chinese people, places, and things, and how, in the process, ethnographic, geographic, and aesthetic representations of China shaped British writers' and artists' vision of their own lives and experiences. For many Britons, China was much more than a geographical location; it was also a way of seeing and being seen that could be either embraced as creative…


Book cover of For All the Tea in China: Espionage, Empire, and the Secret Formula for the World's Favourite Drink

Annie Murray Author Of Letter from a Tea Garden

From my list on India under the Raj that are not about princesses.

Why am I passionate about this?

Abi Oliver is a pen name as my real name is Annie Murray—I write under both names. My first book, A New Map of Love, set in the 1960s, featured an older woman who had been born in India. She developed into such a character—a bit of an old trout to be truthful—that I wanted to tell her story. It also tapped into my family’s many connections with India and the fact that I have travelled a lot there. I finally got to travel, with my oldest daughter, and stay in one of the tea gardens in Assam—a wonderful experience.

Annie's book list on India under the Raj that are not about princesses

Annie Murray Why did Annie love this book?

I am a total tea-head, so any book about the history of how we all came to be addicts is a good start. This one is particularly gripping and reads like an adventure novel. Robert Fortune, a Scottish botanist, and industrial spy, was employed by the East India Company in 1848 to be smuggled into China and steal their tea-growing secrets. The book never flags, full of information about the opium wars, the Chelsea Physic garden and how the tea, later found to grow naturally in India, was made into a consumer product garnering enormous profits. As I grew up with a family member who disappeared to work in Assam tea gardens just before I was born, I have always been fascinated by this way of life.

By Sarah Rose,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked For All the Tea in China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Robert Fortune was a Scottish gardener, botanist, plant hunter - and industrial spy. In 1848, the East India Company engaged him to make a clandestine trip into the interior of China - territory forbidden to foreigners - to steal the closely guarded secrets of tea.

For centuries, China had been the world's sole tea manufacturer. Britain purchased this fuel for its Empire by trading opium to the Chinese - a poisonous relationship Britain fought two destructive wars to sustain. The East India Company had profited lavishly as the middleman, but now it was sinking, having lost its monopoly to trade…


Book cover of Tea Horse Road: China's Ancient Trade Road to Tibet

Jane Pettigrew Author Of Jane Pettigrew's World of Tea: Discovering Producing Regions and Their Teas

From my list on tea and tea history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell into the world of tea by chance in the 1980s when I gave up a career in higher education to open a 1930s style tearoom in southwest London. I grew up in the 1950s in a typical British family that drank tea throughout the day but little did I know, as I baked endless supplies of scones and cakes for the tearoom at 4 am every day, that I would end up writing books and magazine articles, editing a tea magazine for the UK Tea Council, speaking at world tea conferences, training staff in hotels, travelling to almost every major tea producing country, and eventually working today as Director of Studies at the UK Tea Academy.

Jane's book list on tea and tea history

Jane Pettigrew Why did Jane love this book?

This hefty tome is a dream book for anyone fascinated, as I am, by the ancient trade road, dating back to the 7th century AD and stretching over 1000 miles, along which tea was carried on the backs of pack animals from southwest China up to Lhasa, where it was traded for Tibetan ponies. Freeman’s wonderful photographs and Ahmad’s text capture and explain the life of the villagers in the famous tea mountains of southern Yunnan, where tea trees live up to 3,000 years; the rituals of the Buddhist priests in their temples; the different ethnic peoples that live in the remote regions along the road; the ceremonies that take place to honour the ancient tea trees, and views of the landscape where rivers wind, yaks graze, and life revolves around tea.

By Michael Freeman, Selena Ahmed,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tea Horse Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the longest and most dramatic trade routes of the ancient world, the Tea Horse Road carried a crucial exchange for 13 centuries between China and Tibet. China needed war horses to protect its northern frontier and Tibet could supply them. When the Tibetans discovered tea in the 7th century, it became a staple of their diet, but its origins are in southwest China, and they had to trade for it.

The result was a network of trails covering more than 3,000 kilometers through forests, gorges and high passes onto the Himalayan plateaus, traversed by horse, mule and yak…


Book cover of The Bridegroom: Stories

Samrat Upadhyay Author Of Mad Country

From my list on fiction that make political feel intensely persona.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Nepal, where politics was part and parcel of everyday life. During my childhood and teenage years, we lived under a monarchy, where the king was supreme. Yet there was always a simmering tension between what was a mildly authoritarian rule and what the people’s aspirations were. As I grew into adulthood, Nepal saw a massive uprising that ushered in a multiparty system, then later, after a bloody Maoist civil war, the overthrow of the crown. Yet, even amidst all these political upheavals, people do live quotidian lives, and the space between these two seemingly disparate things has always felt like a literary goldmine to me. 

Samrat's book list on fiction that make political feel intensely persona

Samrat Upadhyay Why did Samrat love this book?

Ha Jin is a writer close to my heart. I find his spare prose and his trenchant images extremely effective in portraying the oppression of the Chinese regime. In The Bridegroom, Ha Jin uses twelve stories to show a China in transition from a society that’s just emerged from the cultural revolution to a more modern land where Western-style chicken restaurants, with their capitalist modes of operation, disrupt the accepted order of things. The Bridegroom has everything a good story collection is supposed to have: memorable characters, interesting situations, good doses of humor, and resonant images. It’s a book I have learned much from and one repeatedly taught in my classes. 

By Ha Jin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bridegroom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the remarkable Ha Jin, winner of the National Book Award for his celebrated novel Waiting, a collection of comical and deeply moving tales of contemporary China that are as warm and human as they are surprising, disturbing, and delightful.

In the title story, the head of security at a factory is shocked, first when the hansomest worker on the floor proposes marriage to his homely adopted daughter, and again when his new son-in-law is arrested for the "crime" of homosexuality. In "After Cowboy Chicken Came to Town," the workers at an American-style fast food franchise receive a hilarious crash…


Book cover of Mao's China and After: A History of the People's Republic

Mobo C.F. Gao Author Of Constructing China: Clashing Views of the People's Republic

From my list on understanding modern China.

Why am I passionate about this?

I currently teach Chinese studies at the Department of Asian Studies of the University of Adelaide. My publications include several books, and over a hundred book chapters/articles. My book Mandarin Chinese: An Introduction is a standard reference for learners of modern Chinese in English-speaking countries. Two of my books Gao Village: A Portrait of Modern Life in Rural China and Gao Village Revisited: Life of the Rural People in Contemporary China are case studies of Gao Village where I came from. Other books include the Battle of China's Past: Mao and the Cultural Revolution and Remembering Socialist China 1949 – 1976 which are reassessments of the Mao era and the Cultural Revolution. 

Mobo's book list on understanding modern China

Mobo C.F. Gao Why did Mobo love this book?

Generally speaking, there is a tendency both in China and the West to view the rise of China as the result of post-Mao reform. Mao is either perceived as a monster at worst or hopeless in economies at best. Deng Xiaoping takes the largest credit for China’s spectacular economic takeoff. Meisner is one of the first who presents a balanced view of China’s contemporary development, presenting convincing evidence to show that China’s industrialization and modernization started in the era of Mao.

By Maurice Meisner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mao's China and After as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When MAO'S CHINA first appeared in 1977, it was hailed as the single most useful general volume on recent Chinese history, covering every important question of the time with clarity and amazing insight. Now, Meisner brings the third edition of his definitive work, with new information provided throughout the classic study. Including a whole new section in Part Six, 'Deng Xiaoping and the Origins of Chinese Capitalism: 1976-1998', Meisner assesses the country's uneasy relationship with democracy, socialism and capitalism. Retaining the elegance, lucidity and comprehensiveness he is known for, Meisner moves far beyond his previous work to paint a never-before-seen…


Book cover of Local Insights, Global Ethics for Business

Kleio Akrivou Author Of The Challenges of Capitalism for Virtue Ethics and the Common Good: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

From my list on capitalism, ethics, and the self.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have cross-disciplinary expertise (ethics and moral philosophy, philosophical anthropology and moral psychology), and my work focuses on personalist virtue ethics, moral human development, and the links between ethics and economics; I am a person who loves nature and animals, and I’m thrilled to do good work. I was educated and worked internationally, with academic degrees in different Europe countries and the USA, and 30 years of work and academic experience in Europe, the USA, and SE Asia. I live with my family near London, U.K.. I am passionate about enabling a more sustainable society that however remains rooted in human dignity and avoids instrumentalizing the person

Kleio's book list on capitalism, ethics, and the self

Kleio Akrivou Why did Kleio love this book?

I love the clarity and the bold historically informed orientation, and that the proposal on how to act for the common good takes ideas from different virtue ethics around the world (from Aristotle’s European to Asian ones in Confucius, Watzusian ethics in Japan, etc.).

They are so different from how current politics act with only power in mind. This book is sensitive to local insights and has strong realist basis for global ethics for business. 

By Daryl Koehn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Local Insights, Global Ethics for Business as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book evaluates strategies for managing ethical conflict. Macro-approaches that attribute select values to entire peoples and claim supremacy for these values are suspect. A micro-approach, focusing on the ethics of individual thinkers, is better. The study uses the ethics of Confucius and Tetsuro Watsuji to derive a process-based universal ethic that respects local differences yet is not relativistic.


Book cover of A Thirst for Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World

Benjamin Breen Author Of Tripping on Utopia: Margaret Mead, the Cold War, and the Troubled Birth of Psychedelic Science

From my list on the history of drugs.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a historian of science and medicine, I’m fascinated by the many ways that drugs—from tea to opiates, Prozac to psychedelics—have shaped our world. After all, there are few adults on the planet today who don’t regularly consume substances that have been classified as a drug at one time or another (I’m looking at you, coffee and tea!). The books I’ve selected here have deeply influenced my own thinking on the history of drugs over the past decade, from my first book, The Age of Intoxication, to my new book on the history of psychedelic science.

Benjamin's book list on the history of drugs

Benjamin Breen Why did Benjamin love this book?

This ambitious and readable book explores how a seemingly simple beverage—tea—became a force shaping global empires. Rappaport, a historian at UC Santa Barbara, documents how tea has influenced everything from global trade networks and consumer cultures to ideas about health, morality, and national identity over the past three centuries.

Readers follow tea’s rise to become a key global commodity, moving from the courtly culture of tea in imperial China to the pages of Victorian magazines and the vast plantations of India and East Africa. This book made me think in a new way about the origins of modern-day consumer culture—not to mention the cup of tea I’m drinking as I write this. 

By Erika Rappaport,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Thirst for Empire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How the global tea industry influenced the international economy and the rise of mass consumerism

Tea has been one of the most popular commodities in the world. For centuries, profits from its growth and sales funded wars and fueled colonization, and its cultivation brought about massive changes-in land use, labor systems, market practices, and social hierarchies-the effects of which are with us even today. A Thirst for Empire takes an in-depth historical look at how men and women-through the tea industry in Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa-transformed global tastes and habits. An expansive and original global history of imperial…


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