The best Hong Kong books 📚

Browse the best books on Hong Kong as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of For The Love Of Hong Kong: A Memoir From My City Under Siege

For The Love Of Hong Kong: A Memoir From My City Under Siege

By Hana Meihan Davis

Why this book?

This is a short and very personal account by a young journalist born and brought up in Hong Kong.  As her parents are academics who had also played activist roles in Hong Kong, Hana got to know some of Hong Kong’s democracy activists and fighters from a very young age. She writes with passion about why the young people of Hong Kong fight for democracy in Chinese Hong Kong, where the prospect of success was very dim, if not non-existent. If you are interested in how Hong Kong’s young people think about democracy, this is a good starting point.

From the list:

The best books on Hong Kong’s history and politics

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Book cover of A City Mismanaged: Hong Kong's Struggle for Survival

A City Mismanaged: Hong Kong's Struggle for Survival

By Leo F. Goodstadt

Why this book?

This is a cogent book on how Hong Kong’s Government has squandered a magnificent inheritance, a vibrant, energetic, and entrepreneurial people willing to engage with the government by neglecting their social rights. Goodstadt does so by examining housing, medical services, and education policy, as well as Hong Kong’s all important relationship with Mainland China. It is a readable piece of serious scholarship by someone who had served as the head of the government’s Central Policy Unit for over a decade in British Hong Kong. It explains the background to the social discontent that underpinned the massive protests of 2019, which…

From the list:

The best books on Hong Kong’s history and politics

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Book cover of Hong Kong's Watershed: The 1967 Riots

Hong Kong's Watershed: The 1967 Riots

By Gary Ka-Wai Cheung

Why this book?

The 1967 riots in Hong Kong were inspired by the Cultural Revolution in mainland China. It was a turbulent and violent period both on the mainland and in Hong Kong. British colonial rule was threatened but it survived, and it turned the people of Hong Kong away from the CCP. The story of this fascinating period is told by veteran journalist, Gary Cheung from Hong Kong.
From the list:

The best books about the Chinese Communist Party and Hong Kong

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Book cover of Neon Panic

Neon Panic

By Charles Philipp Martin

Why this book?

The setting is roiling Hong Kong just before the British turnover to China. A musician in the Hong Kong Philharmonic, searching for an unaccountably missing friend and colleague, becomes sucked into the back alleys of organized crime. Martin himself was a veteran professional orchestral string bass player in Hong Kong and has a consummate grasp of the pulse of the city and the vagaries of the music business. This gritty, rough-and-tumble page-turning thriller, with dialogue as spicy as the food and a noire feel, is an under-the-radar gem that in a fair world should be a best-seller. May be hard…

From the list:

The best mysteries in the world of classical music

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Book cover of The Piano Teacher

The Piano Teacher

By Janice Y. K. Lee

Why this book?

Janice Y.K Lee marries historical fiction with music and passion in this epic story set in Singapore in the 1940s and 1950s. Like all the best historical novels, this book highlighted aspects of history not always discussed, and did it with a thread of beautiful music woven through the story. This book is all-consuming.  

From the list:

The best novels about love and music

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Book cover of Myself a Mandarin

Myself a Mandarin

By Austin Coates

Why this book?

This is a beautifully written and charming old book by a colonial administrator, who left government service young and turned to writing. It provides a vivid portrait of how a District Officer in the New Territories worked in the 1950s, when modernity was beginning to change the traditional way of life in old rural Hong Kong that was fast disappearing. It shows how a young dedicated colonial administrator being tasked to act as the ‘father and mother’ for the local Chinese community found his feet and try to do the best he could.

From the list:

The best books on Hong Kong’s history and politics

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

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