Cracking China

book cover

Cracking China is an exciting new book that tells you all about Chinese culture and traditions. Now that China is poised to be the leading nation on Earth, everyone needs to know more about this unique civilization. It seems Napoleon was right to warn us ‘when China wakes up she will shake the world’. Chinese culture and traditions are so surprisingly different to our own that we continue to stumble into mutual incomprehension.

This is not another worthy tome on history, there are plenty of these already. Cracking China aims to inform and entertain with an eclectic collection of 60 self-contained topics, each in a separate entry of no more than 500 words, arranged A-Z and cross-referenced.

Entries for Cracking China volume 1 are: Acupuncture, Age, Bamboo, Cats, Chess, Chinoiserie, Concubines, Confucius, Daoism, Dragons, Dynasties, Elements, Emperor, Eunuchs, Everest, Examinations, Face, Feng Shui , Feet, Festivals, Food, Foxes, Fu, Gardens, Great Wall, Hair, Hands, Inventions, Jade, Kiwi-fruits, Kowtow, Kung Fu, Language, Lotus, Mandarin, Names, Numbers, Old and New, Opium, Panda, Paper, Qi, Queen and Empress, Red, Rhubarb, Rice, Romans, Silk Road, Sixty, South and North, Swastika, Topsy-turvy, Torture, Windows, Women, Writing, Yellow, Yi Jing (I Ching), Yin and Yang and Zhongguo (China).

The content exposes some surprising topsy-turvy conventions in China. For example: wearing white not black at funerals; gardens on the inside not outside of houses; clapping in order to drive out demons not to show appreciation; south not north at the top of maps; writing from right to left not left to right; family names first not last and meals starting with fruit and ending with soup. The book explains these and many more contrary traditions. These entries highlight social conventions you need to know, misconceptions, cultural divergence and interesting facts.

Our increasing interaction with China has not kept step with our understanding of its traditions and culture. This imbalance will soon expose a general ignorance that, considering the myths and misunderstandings around, will appear insensitive and sometimes offensive. The Chinese have a saying “Viewing a leopard through a tube” 管中窥豹 guǎn zhōng kuī bào warning us that it's dangerous to act on limited information. Please feel free to contact me for further information about ‘Cracking China’.

Cracking China

Buy a copy

Amazon buy Cracking China link Copies are now available for purchase from Amazon.
ISBN: 978-1-7399861-0-0
Price $9.49 or £6.99
161 pages with 62 black and white illustrations.
Click on the book button or the tiger to go to the Amazon store.
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All the references used for the Cracking China book are all here on this web site . There are over 500 of them. The information in the book has been carefully researched and all the original source references noted. Please let us know of broken links or updated information so we can add them to the web site.
Robert Stallard

About the Author

Robert Stallard studied at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University at the time when the great British sinologist Joseph Needham was Master. For the last thirty years Robert has been a director (and now a V.P.) of the charity Joseph Needham founded to encourage greater understanding of the Chinese people: The Society of Anglo-Chinese Understanding (SACU ). Seven years ago I started developing a web site all about China : China Sage . It has become one of the leading reference web sites about China and is now receiving over 50,000 visitors a month.

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