100 books like Heaven Lake

By John Dalton,

Here are 100 books that Heaven Lake fans have personally recommended if you like Heaven Lake. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Green Island

By Shawna Yang Ryan,

Book cover of Green Island

John Grant Ross Author Of Taiwan in 100 Books

From the list on novels set in Taiwan.

Who am I?

I’m a Kiwi who has spent most of the past three decades in Asia. My books include Formosan Odyssey, You Don't Know China, and Taiwan in 100 Books. I live in a small town in southern Taiwan with my Taiwanese wife. When not writing, reading, or lusting over maps, I can be found on the abandoned family farm slashing jungle undergrowth (and having a sly drink).

John's book list on novels set in Taiwan

Why did John love this book?

Both a family history and a political primer of Taiwan, spanning the years from 1947 to 2003, this is my go-to fiction recommendation. The title comes from the name of an island where many political prisoners were sent during the martial law era. Green Island opens with the birth of the female narrator as a revolt against oppressive Nationalist rule breaks out on the streets of Taipei. She is delivered by her father, a doctor who is arrested and sent to Green Island. A deserved popular and critical success, this is one of the few Taiwan works available as an audiobook.

By Shawna Yang Ryan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Taipei, February 28, 1947: As an uprising rocks Taiwan, a young doctor is taken from his newborn daughter by Chinese Nationalists, on charges of speaking out against the government. Although he eventually returns to his family, his arrival is marked by alienation from his loved ones and paranoia among his community. Years later, this troubled past follows his youngest daughter to America, where, as a mother and a wife, she too is forced to decide between what is right and what might save her family-the same choice she witnessed her father make many years before. A stunningly lyrical story of…


Lord of Formosa

By Joyce Bergvelt,

Book cover of Lord of Formosa

John Grant Ross Author Of Taiwan in 100 Books

From the list on novels set in Taiwan.

Who am I?

I’m a Kiwi who has spent most of the past three decades in Asia. My books include Formosan Odyssey, You Don't Know China, and Taiwan in 100 Books. I live in a small town in southern Taiwan with my Taiwanese wife. When not writing, reading, or lusting over maps, I can be found on the abandoned family farm slashing jungle undergrowth (and having a sly drink).

John's book list on novels set in Taiwan

Why did John love this book?

Recounting Taiwan’s single most gripping historical episode, Ming loyalist warlord Koxinga and his fight with Dutch forces in southwestern Taiwan, Lord of Formosa sticks close to the known facts. Koxinga’s life intertwines perfectly with that of the Dutch presence on the island. He was born in 1624, the year that the Dutch East India Company established a settlement on Taiwan, and he died in 1662, the year the Dutch were expelled. Dutch-born author Bergvelt adds flesh and breath to a fascinating cast of real-life figures, making them accessible for modern readers.

By Joyce Bergvelt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The year is 1624. In southwestern Taiwan the Dutch establish a trading settlement; in Nagasaki a boy is born who will become immortalized as Ming dynasty loyalist Koxinga. Lord of Formosa tells the intertwined stories of Koxinga and the Dutch colony from their beginnings to their fateful climax in 1662. The year before, as Ming China collapsed in the face of the Manchu conquest, Koxinga retreated across the Taiwan Strait intent on expelling the Dutch. Thus began a nine-month battle for Fort Zeelandia, the single most compelling episode in the history of Taiwan. The first major military clash between China…


A Pail of Oysters

By Vern Sneider,

Book cover of A Pail of Oysters

John Grant Ross Author Of Taiwan in 100 Books

From the list on novels set in Taiwan.

Who am I?

I’m a Kiwi who has spent most of the past three decades in Asia. My books include Formosan Odyssey, You Don't Know China, and Taiwan in 100 Books. I live in a small town in southern Taiwan with my Taiwanese wife. When not writing, reading, or lusting over maps, I can be found on the abandoned family farm slashing jungle undergrowth (and having a sly drink).

John's book list on novels set in Taiwan

Why did John love this book?

Published in 1953, this was the first English-language novel on the White Terror period and was long-banned in Taiwan. Sneider, better known for his comedic bestseller The Teahouse of the August Moon, came to Taiwan to do research for this moving novel. It tells the story of 19-year-old villager Li Liu, who travels to Taipei to recover his family’s kitchen god, which was stolen by Nationalist soldiers. Li Liu’s fate becomes entwined with that of Ralph Barton, an American journalist who finds himself drawn into the dangerous world of underground politics.

By Vern Sneider,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Pail of Oysters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most important English-language novel ever written about Taiwan.


"Touching, tragic; a testimony to the stubbornly optimistic human spirit."

-The San Francisco Chronicle


Set against the political repression and poverty of the White Terror era in Taiwan, A Pail of Oysters tells the moving story of nineteen-year-old villager Li Liu and his quest to recover his family's stolen kitchen god. Li Liu's fate becomes entwined with that of American journalist Ralph Barton, who, in trying to report honestly about Kuomintang rule of the island, investigates the situation beyond the propaganda, learns of a massacre, and is drawn into the world…


Bu San Bu Si

By J.W. Henley,

Book cover of Bu San Bu Si: A Taiwan Punk Tale

John Grant Ross Author Of Taiwan in 100 Books

From the list on novels set in Taiwan.

Who am I?

I’m a Kiwi who has spent most of the past three decades in Asia. My books include Formosan Odyssey, You Don't Know China, and Taiwan in 100 Books. I live in a small town in southern Taiwan with my Taiwanese wife. When not writing, reading, or lusting over maps, I can be found on the abandoned family farm slashing jungle undergrowth (and having a sly drink).

John's book list on novels set in Taiwan

Why did John love this book?

Readers looking for something different will enjoy this. There’s no history lesson here, no cultural tourism of night markets, martial arts, and temples, no Western protagonists finding their feet and getting a girl. Bu San Bu Si is a gritty journey into the underground music scene in Taipei. In electric prose, the novel follows the triumphs and more often the travails of Xiao Hei, the bass guitarist in a four-man band called Resistant Strain, “a bunch of nobodies in a scene full of more nobodies.” The talented young man’s work ethic doesn’t match his ambitions for street cred, fame, and fortune. When gangster connections offer a shortcut, things spin out of control.  

By J.W. Henley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bu San Bu Si as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bu San Bu Si—"not three not four." To the Taiwanese people, it's an idiom used to describe the punks, lowlifes, and losers of society—the ones who don't fit in, and never will. It's what they would call someone like Xiao Hei. Talented and self-destructive, young and reckless, Xiao Hei is the guitar player for Taipei punk band Resistant Strain. He and his band mates don't just play punk. In the vein of the music's more nihilistic Western progenitors, they take it as a lifestyle. Live Fast. Die Young. Get Drunk. Stay Broke. And yet, at the back of their minds,…


Dangerous Strait

By Nancy Bernkopf Tucker (editor),

Book cover of Dangerous Strait: The U.S.-Taiwan-China Crisis

Warren I. Cohen Author Of East Asia at the Center: Four Thousand Years of Engagement with the World

From the list on understanding the coming war with China.

Who am I?

I’ve spent all of my adult life writing about American foreign policy, especially Chinese-American relations.  My America’s Response to China, the standard text on the subject, has gone through 6 editions. I served as a line officer in the Pacific Fleet, lived in Taipei and Beijing. I also served as chairman of the State Department Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation and have been a consultant on Chinese affairs to various government organizations. And I cook the best mapo toufu outside of Sichuan. (where I negotiated the Michigan-Sichuan sister-state relationship in 1982). It was probably my love of Chinese food that accounts for most of the above.

Warren's book list on understanding the coming war with China

Why did Warren love this book?

I attended the conference at which papers presented here were delivered. Participants were leading academic and government analysts. The papers were insightful and precise and the information provided created the foundation for current U.S. policy in the Taiwan Strait.

The concluding essay, by Tucker (my late wife) anticipates today’s question of whether the policy of strategic ambiguity (will the United States intervene if China attacks Taiwan?) is superior to strategic clarity. Her affirmative answer remains persuasive.

By Nancy Bernkopf Tucker (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Today the most dangerous place on earth is arguably the Taiwan Strait, where a war between the United States and China could erupt out of miscalculation, misunderstanding, or accident. How and to what degree Taiwan pursues its own national identity will have profound ramifications in its relationship with China as well as in relations between China and the United States. Events late in 2004 demonstrated the volatility of the situation, as Taiwan's legislative elections unexpectedly preserved a slim majority for supporters of closer relations with China. Beijing, nevertheless, threatened to pass an anti-secession law, apt to revitalize pro-independence forces in…


A Force So Swift

By Kevin Peraino,

Book cover of A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman, and the Birth of Modern China, 1949

Moss Roberts Author Of Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel

From the list on modern Asia.

Who am I?

I have a strong, if contrarian, interest in modern history, Asian history in particular. I have published more than a dozen articles and book reviews on the subject, and I have taught courses on modern Asian history (China, Japan, Vietnam, India) at New York University, where I have been a professor since 1968. A brief history of my somewhat unusual academic career may be found in a 50-page memoir published via Amazon in 2020 together with an appendix containing a sampling of my short writings. It is titled Moss Roberts: A Journey to the East. The memoir but not the appendix is free via Researchgate. In addition, I have studied (and taught) the Chinese language for more than half a century, and published translations of classical works of literature and philosophy.   

Moss' book list on modern Asia

Why did Moss love this book?

President Truman sends George Marshall to China in December 1945 on a special mission to unify the Communists and Nationalists and create a non-Communist China. Marshall returns to the US in early 1947. The mission has failed. Had he been truly neutral as a broker, could the mission have succeeded?

By Kevin Peraino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Force So Swift as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice • Winner of the 2018 Truman Book Award

A gripping narrative of the Truman Administration's response to the fall of Nationalist China and the triumph of Mao Zedong's Communist forces in 1949--an extraordinary political revolution that continues to shape East Asian politics to this day.
 
In the opening months of 1949, U.S. President Harry S. Truman found himself faced with a looming diplomatic catastrophe--"perhaps the greatest that this country has ever suffered," as the journalist Walter Lippmann put it. Throughout the spring and summer, Mao Zedong's Communist armies fanned out across mainland China,…


Accidental State

By Hsiao-ting Lin,

Book cover of Accidental State: Chiang Kai-Shek, the United States, and the Making of Taiwan

John Grant Ross Author Of Formosan Odyssey: Taiwan, Past and Present

From the list on Taiwan’s history.

Who am I?

I’m a Kiwi who has spent most of the past three decades in Asia. My books include Formosan Odyssey, You Don't Know China, and Taiwan in 100 Books. I live in a small town in southern Taiwan with my Taiwanese wife. When not writing, reading, or lusting over maps, I can be found on the abandoned family farm slashing jungle undergrowth (and having a sly drink).

John's book list on Taiwan’s history

Why did John love this book?

How did Taiwan become the country it is today, how did it become the Republic of China? Hsiao-ting Lin, a leading Taiwanese historian and an archivist at Stanford’s Hoover Institute, convincingly argues that the Nationalist state in Taiwan under Chiang Kai-shek came about in large part from happenstance. The book draws on both English- and Chinese-language archival materials, including newly released official files and personal papers to explain what happened to Taiwan in the crucial years following World War II; it also examines what didn’t happen but might have, such as the island being placed under temporary American trusteeship. Accidental State is unbiased and nuanced history, and packed with fun but intelligent counterfactual nuggets.

By Hsiao-ting Lin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The existence of two Chinese states-one controlling mainland China, the other controlling the island of Taiwan-is often understood as a seemingly inevitable outcome of the Chinese civil war. Defeated by Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists fled to Taiwan to establish a rival state, thereby creating the "Two Chinas" dilemma that vexes international diplomacy to this day. Accidental State challenges this conventional narrative to offer a new perspective on the founding of modern Taiwan.

Hsiao-ting Lin marshals extensive research in recently declassified archives to show that the creation of a Taiwanese state in the early 1950s owed more to serendipity than…


Chip War

By Chris Miller,

Book cover of Chip War: The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology

Darren McKee Author Of Uncontrollable: The Threat of Artificial Superintelligence and the Race to Save the World

From the list on understanding how AI will shape our lives.

Who am I?

I'm an author, advisor, speaker, podcaster, and citizen concerned about humanity’s relationship with advanced artificial intelligence. After following developments in AI for many years, I noticed a disconnect between the rapid rate of progress in AI and the public’s understanding of what was happening. The AI issue affects everyone, so I want everyone to be empowered to learn more about how AI will have a large impact on their lives. As a senior policy advisor and a member of the Board of Advisors for Canada's leading safety and governance network, books such as these help me stay informed about the latest developments in advanced artificial intelligence. I hope my recommendations will help you to critically consider how humans should co-exist with this revolutionary technology.

Darren's book list on understanding how AI will shape our lives

Why did Darren love this book?

Whoever controls the computer chips controls the world?

Not quite, but computer chips are a critical ingredient in making the powerful AI systems that dominate the headlines, and there is a high-stakes global competition for the fastest and newest chips.

These chips are so difficult to design and make, yet so important, that the U.S. is overtly restricting China’s access through export controls, and China is not yet able to build its own.

Miller provides an excellent overview of the history and development of computer chips. The book provides detailed information about the key players and different countries involved, as well as the strengths and limitations, all the while remaining accessible. 

By Chris Miller,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Chip War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

***Winner of the Financial Times Business Book of the Year award***

'Pulse quickening. A nonfiction thriller - equal parts The China Syndrome and Mission Impossible' New York Times

An epic account of the decades-long battle to control the world's most critical resource-microchip technology

Power in the modern world - military, economic, geopolitical - is built on a foundation of computer chips. America has maintained its lead as a superpower because it has dominated advances in computer chips and all the technology that chips have enabled. (Virtually everything runs on chips: cars, phones, the stock market, even the electric grid.) Now…


U.S.-Taiwan Relations

By Ryan Hass, Bonnie Glaser, Richard Bush

Book cover of U.S.-Taiwan Relations: Will China's Challenge Lead to a Crisis?

Warren I. Cohen Author Of East Asia at the Center: Four Thousand Years of Engagement with the World

From the list on understanding the coming war with China.

Who am I?

I’ve spent all of my adult life writing about American foreign policy, especially Chinese-American relations.  My America’s Response to China, the standard text on the subject, has gone through 6 editions. I served as a line officer in the Pacific Fleet, lived in Taipei and Beijing. I also served as chairman of the State Department Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation and have been a consultant on Chinese affairs to various government organizations. And I cook the best mapo toufu outside of Sichuan. (where I negotiated the Michigan-Sichuan sister-state relationship in 1982). It was probably my love of Chinese food that accounts for most of the above.

Warren's book list on understanding the coming war with China

Why did Warren love this book?

The authors are three of the best analysts of Chinese affairs in Washington today. Bush is the leading authority on Taiwan, having been responsible for relations between the U.S. and Taiwan for many years when in government service. 

He and Bonnie Glaser are long-time friends whose judgments have served me well in my own work over the last 20-30 years, especially with recent editions of my book. Glaser is widely regarded to have the best sources in Beijing and her predictions of PRC behavior are constantly on the mark. Hass served on the National Security Council during the Obama years and is now at Brookings.  

By Ryan Hass, Bonnie Glaser, Richard Bush

Why should I read it?

1 author picked U.S.-Taiwan Relations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Anxiety about China’s growing military capabilities to threaten Taiwan has induced alarm in Washington about whether the United States remains capable of deterring attempts to seize Taiwan by force. This alarm has fed American impulses to alter longstanding policy, and to increasingly view challenges confronting Taiwan through a military lens. While Taiwan clearly is under growing military threat, it also is facing a simultaneous and intensifying Chinese political campaign to wear down the will of the Taiwan people. This latter line of effort receives less attention, but left unaddressed, has the potential to do far more damage to American interests.…


Lost Colony

By Tonio Andrade,

Book cover of Lost Colony: The Untold Story of China's First Great Victory Over the West

John Grant Ross Author Of Formosan Odyssey: Taiwan, Past and Present

From the list on Taiwan’s history.

Who am I?

I’m a Kiwi who has spent most of the past three decades in Asia. My books include Formosan Odyssey, You Don't Know China, and Taiwan in 100 Books. I live in a small town in southern Taiwan with my Taiwanese wife. When not writing, reading, or lusting over maps, I can be found on the abandoned family farm slashing jungle undergrowth (and having a sly drink).

John's book list on Taiwan’s history

Why did John love this book?

Few stood against many as the fate of Taiwan hung in the balance. This is a gripping account of the 1660s clash between Ming loyalist Koxinga and besieged Dutch colonists at Fort Zeelandia. Written by a historian with a flair for narrative, Taiwan’s most exciting historical episode is recounted in fascinating detail, with twists and turns, and wide zooms out for comparisons of European and Chinese technological prowess. It’s an accessible book yet so richly informative and dramatic that it rewards multiple readings. 

By Tonio Andrade,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During the seventeenth century, Holland created the world's most dynamic colonial empire, outcompeting the British and capturing Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Yet, in the Sino-Dutch War - Europe's first war with China - the Dutch met their match in a colorful Chinese warlord named Koxinga. Part samurai, part pirate, he led his generals to victory over the Dutch and captured one of their largest and richest colonies - Taiwan. How did he do it? Examining the strengths and weaknesses of European and Chinese military techniques during the period, Lost Colony provides a balanced new perspective on long-held assumptions about Western…


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