Titles About Taiwan | Travel and History

An indispensable guide for readers traveling to Taiwan and a book recommended for anyone interested in China-Taiwan-U.S. relations.

Christensen, Matthew B. & Henrietta Yang. Taiwan 101: Studying, Working, and Traveling in Today’s Taiwan. Rowman & Littlefield. Jan. 2024. 170p. ISBN 9781538187807. $35. TRAV

This title by Christensen (Chinese, Brigham Young Univ.; A Geek in China) and Yang (Chinese and linguistics, Univ. of Mississippi) is a concise but thorough overview of the people, the languages (more than 20 are spoken there), and the history of Taiwan, including a timeline from 239 AD to 2017. Taiwan offers an affordable rapid transit system, called MRT, that makes getting around easy and accessible for first-time visitors. Attractions such as shopping districts, gorges, and beaches are highlighted too. But the authors emphasize that their book isn’t intended to be a travel guide. Instead, they give practical advice for daily living in Taiwan, such as where to live, eat, and work. Readers who are thinking about working or studying in Taiwan will find, for example, information on workplace etiquette and strategies for landing an internship. There are tips for how to visit the numerous food stalls in Taiwanese markets, plus charts of the country’s top night-market dishes and breakfast foods. The cultural differences among Taiwan’s four regions are explained as well. VERDICT An indispensable guide for readers traveling to Taiwan for vacation, work, or school. It’s chock-full of information that will help people successfully navigate the country.—Whitney Bates-Gomez

Khan, Sulmaan Wasif. The Struggle for Taiwan: A History of America, China, and the Island Caught Between. Basic. May 2024. 336p. ISBN 9781541605046. $30. HIST

Khan (history and international relations, Tufts Univ.; Haunted by Chaos: Grand Strategy from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping) offers a thorough history of the China-Taiwan conflict and the United States’ role in it. His book spans from 1943, when the Cairo Declaration first mentioned Taiwan being returned to the Republic of China (ROC) from Japan, up through the present day. In 1949, Mao Zedong’s Communist forces defeated Chiang Kai-shek’s ROC and established the People’s Republic of China. Chiang and the remnants of the ROC retreated to the island of Taiwan. In the 1950s, the U.S. made the decision to prevent Mao from taking Taiwan and thus placed Taiwan under American protection. Since then, there has been a complex push and pull, in which successive U.S. administrations try to forge a good relationship with China without abandoning commitments made to Taiwan. This has ultimately resulted in a complicated U.S. position in which it no longer officially recognizes the ROC government in Taiwan but is also obligated by the Taiwan Relations Act to provide it with defensive weapons. VERDICT Highly recommended for anyone interested in China-Taiwan-U.S. relations.—Joshua Wallace

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing