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A Thousand Pieces of Gold
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A Thousand Pieces of Gold

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  423 ratings  ·  30 reviews
In this poignant memoir the New York Times bestselling author of Falling Leaves, Adeline Yen Mah, provides a fascinating window into the history and cultural soul of China. Combining personal reflections, rich historical insights, and proverbs handed down to her by her grandfather, Yen Mah shares the wealth of Chinese civilization with Western readers. Exploring the histor ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2002)
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If you have any interest in China or Chinese history, this is a great book for you. It's interesting, informative, and well written, but not heavy reading at all.
A friend was raving about this book and lent it to me. Initially, I was rather skeptical: after the success of "Wild Swan", there were tons of 'me-too' books wailing about the hardship of living under Communist China and how they got new lives overseas. One of which, I thought, was Adeline Yen Mah's Falling Leaves.

But I had to eat my words. This is a very good book: 1/3 autobiography, 1/3 chinese history, 1/3 proverb explanation. Weaving two parts (autobiography and chinese history, ancient and
A Thousand Pieces of Gold is essentially a commentary of Sima Qian’s Historical Records, or 史記 (Shiji). The writing is, at times, extremely tedious and the personal testimonies are unnecessary, detracting from what could have otherwise been a very elegant book. Nevertheless I respect that it would have taken great courage and determination to write this book, and that the Author’s stories about why these proverbs are so important obviously matter to her even if the point is never properly made t ...more
Adeline Yen Mah has become one of my favorite author. After reading her novel "Falling Leaves," I was fascinated by her storytelling and how she recalled her childhood experiences. In "A Thousands Pieces of Gold," Yen Mah provides the history and culture of China combined with her own personal experiences and the proverbs learned from her Ye-Ye(grandfather). In the book, she writes about the first and second emperors of China and as well as two warriors and constantly compared Mao Zhe-Dong with ...more
The library houses this volume in the "folk literature, fairy tales, and proverbs" section, which somehow piqued my curiosity. I would say it falls more into either autobiography or history of China, but had it been in either of those places I would never have picked it up. The author is best known for her two autobiographical works FALLING LEAVES and CHINESE CINDERELLA.

I found her personal applications of the proverbs her grandfather taught her which spring from the time of the 1st Emperor and
The story of a young girl who's father, although he calls her his treasure, ultimatly sells her when the family face famine in China in the 1870's. She ends up sold again, comes to America where she is enslaved until she is eventually lost (and ultimatly won) in a poker game. From her very grim beginnings, Lalu/Polly triumphs as an inspiring woman - a true heroine.
Lucy B
Biography of an unwanted Chinese girl. Adeline is a real fighter. You won't only read her story, you'll feel it. One of my favorite books.
I love anything this author writes. I enjoyed the history, culture and proverbs from this book.
Richard Grayson
A Memoir of China's past through it's Proverbs.

This book was written by Adeline Yen Mah. I have written a review on her first book Falling Leave.

When she was young, her Ye Ye (grand father) taught her and told her stories of China's history through proverbs. This book i think is her dedication to her Ye Ye.

With each proverb (for each chapter), tells us the stories of the rise of First Emperor (Qin) of China till the fall of his empire, in between she also wrote about her life and China during C
Read while still in school and reread recently while on vacation to Taiwan and Hong Kong. A fascinating way of putting so much information into context for the unfamiliar reader and a great way to introduce yourself to Chinese history and culture. Adeline Yen Mah's writing is excellent and the story she has to tell is unique and engaging.
Bob Reed
This is an incredibly sweet and wonderful book. The author weaves her personal life into a collection of famous Chinese proverbs, at the same time taking the reader through the early history of China, including the coming to power of the First Emperor of China, and ending with the establishment of the Han Dynasty. Oh, and did I mention that the author relates the book to current events in history, and an evaluation of Mao Zse Tung? Breathtaking! And it's the kind of book that I love: history, bi ...more
I read this sound the time it was first published, and the story has always stuck with me. Excellent read!
Adeline Yen Mah gives you ancient Chinese proverbs and then relates them to Chinese history,specifically the beginnings of the first two emperors of China and then the establishment of the Han Dynasty. She also does a little compare and contrast with the first emperor and Mao Tse-tung. She also adds stories of her own life to help illustrate their relevance to today. Worth reading just for the abbreviated biography of the author. She was born in China but most of her family left for Honk Kong du ...more
As someone who is fascinated with Chinese history, I love this book that delves into the origins of Chinese proverbs. Many of the proverbs are based on actual historical events, while others reflect universal human values. Yen Mah has created a great resource. I found her writing a bit tedious though, and have to confess I didn't read this book completely through. I will keep it as a resource though, because it references important linguistic features of Chinese that one encounters often while s ...more
Having read Falling Leaves, I looked forward to reading another of Yen Mah's books. My disappointment in this book stems from a definite relationship to her first book. Undoubtedly, she had a harsh childhood and is a very bright woman. I won't take away from that, but I will look to enjoying anything she writes that tells me she has moved beyond that bizarre childhood and is relishing her successful life. She has way to much too offer to spend her days wallowing in something she cannot change.
I would rate this book 1.5 stars only because it provided a good introduction to the history of the Warring States period. I was not very interested in the author's family history and I had issues with her interpretations on China's history and some of her editorial comments on Mao. Maybe it's because I had not read the author's autobiography, Falling Leaves, and therefore was not familiar with the back stories on her family their actions.
JiaMin Luo
I expected more from this book. After finished reading Chinese Cinderella and Falling Leaves, I am obesessed with her autobiographies. So I decided to read this book, "A Thousand Piece of Gold". This book has a lot of Chinese phases and Chinese history. I do not recommend it to people who do not like history or Chinese culture. My favorite part of the book is when Adeline applied the chinese phases to his own life.
Mary Gilmartin
This book gave me insight into the proverbs that the author gleaned from the writings of Sima Qian. Adeline Yen Mah's personal reflections with the history behind this provided a window into the Chinese mind. Reference, Chapter 3: Jing Xi Zi Zhi "Respect and cherish written word"
In this book Adeline Yen Mah does well to blend proverb etymology with her life story and Chinese history. At times though, the historical component lacks dimension (and perhaps could have been shortened). Still, a good read if you like proverbs.
The Greatone
Ah yes, this is my favorite book by Adeline Yen Mah, I absolutely loved learning about ancient Chinese history and proverbs, it's like you're learning a whole new language! It's great! I highly recommend it!
This book goes back and forth from Ancient China to present day observations from the author about her life and the effects of Chinese proverbs throughout history and living in general.
Really enjoying the Chinese history behind the proverbs. The intermixing with her life parts were fine, but the proverbs and their historical origins were fascinating.
Roda Mohamed
Loved the writing style. However felt like something was just missing :(
it's a very good book indeed through proverb we learn the basic history of Chinal
going to read this in preparation for visiting the british museum next month
i liked the concept .. but I got tired of all the gore of the ancient battles.
Didn't finish. Had to return ebook to library.
Enjoyed the proverbs and the history
Ruth Ting
this made me rethink chinese
Aug 27, 2007 Dima rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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Adeline Yen Mah (Chinese: Yen Jun-ling; Pinyin: Mǎ Yán Jūnlíng; Yale (Cantonese): ma5 yim4 gwan1 ling4) (official birthday 30th November 1937, however real birthday not known, this is in fact her father's birthday) is a Chinese-American author and physician. She grew up in Tianjin, Shanghai and Hong Kong with an older sister, Lydia; three older brothers, Gregory, Edgar and James and a younger half ...more
More about Adeline Yen Mah...
Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter Falling Leaves: The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society Watching the Tree The Mystery of the Song Dynasty Painting

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