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My Country and My People

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  177 ratings  ·  19 reviews
MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLEby LIN YUTANGINTRODUCTION In this atmosphere of change, the present intellectual youth of China has grown up. Where the fathers imbibed the doctrine of Confucius and learned the classics and revolted against them, these young people have been battered by many forces of the new times. They have been taught something of science, something of Christian ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published November 4th 2008 by Hesperides Press (first published December 22nd 2002)
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Lin Yutang was a Chinese Nobel-Prize nominee writing in the first half of the 20th century, mainly with the purpose of explaining Chinese culture to the West. His piercing insight into the attitude and character of most Chinese people resonates with me every day that I live here. He writes completely in English, with the skill of a gifted native speaker (he was Harvard-educated). If anyone wants to understand into what the average Chinese person was like in the early 20th century, a period of ch ...more
The book is almost a century old and I guarantee you that most Chinese look very different at a glance. But if scraping off the communist ideology on the surface Chinese are still very much the same people, especially the intellectuals.

This is also a very quotable book, full of little gems (think Oscar Wilde).

Highly recommended.
Matt Turner
Although Lin Yutang's commentary on Chinese politics is very funny (and still relevant), I find his style and "commonsense" wisdom to be, well, pedestrian. It's not that this isn't an enjoyable book, but that there's a lot of repetition (from his Art of Living), and that, ultimately, his analyses are more like justifications of folk wisdom - or, less offensively, something that sane people can easily agree with. On the other hand, the book is valuable for being a representative of exactly the wa ...more
If one wants to understand Chinese people in 20th century, there is no better than this.
Zhe Sha
"So they fell more seriously to business of living than to the business of making progress. They took infinite pains and spent sleepless nights over the planning of their private gardens or the cooking of sharks' fins, and fell to eating with the seriousness and gusto of an Omar Khayyam, who trailed the dust of philosophy in vain and took again the vine for his spouse..." How true it is -- here's someone who can't sleep because of thinking too hard about making some chicken soup... A note at the ...more
This was an interesting read in the fact that I could still see quite a bit of overlap in Chinese culture that he described of the early 20th century and current Chinese culture. I didn't really appreciate his commentary of Christianity and thought it surprising that he could have a pastor as a father and yet be so misinformed about Christianity. I also didn't really care for his ethnocentric overtone that Chinese culture is superior, but I guess that in itself is a rather common element of Chin ...more
Herp Derp
Rather tedious overall, but many parts of it were very insightful (and quotable!)
Lin Yutang writes here in a systematic approach to a western audience about China and Chinese culture. Still prescient even today, after nearly seventy years, Lin truly understands what it is to be Chinese and conveys that to his audience, and is frank and sincere about China's shortcomings and positives. Highly recommended at the time of its publishing, it ought to remain so today.
David Guy
Some years ago I read and really enjoyed The Importance of Living, so I thought I might like this book, which I found at a used bookstore. Lin Yutang writes beautifully, and has an interesting take on things, but ultimately I found long stretches of this book rather tedious.
Old Chinese Scholar reflects on Chinese culture, mentality, style, lifestyle, etc. And because it's an old Chinese dude, it's super "Chinese things are awesome!"

By the way, it made me realize how Chinese I am. Shoot.
Raintal Chan
I have just bought this book,and I'm going to read it.You know,this book was written by a Chinese.I'm proud of it,and I believe it is a wonderful book.
Anyone contemplating spending time in China should read this book. I wish I had BEFORE working in Shanghai.
Isaac Shi
If you need read one book to understand China, this is the one
very interesting to read 1935 views re the Chinese people.
Qing Wang
a large portion out-dated, some ideas still interesting
Jan 27, 2012 Minnow marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by Lorisa, postcrossing (CN-497974).
great for the study of chinese character~
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Prolific writer of a wide variety of works in Chinese and English; in the 1930s he founded several Chinese magazines specializing in social satire and Western-style journalism.

Lin, the son of a Chinese Presbyterian minister, was educated for the ministry but renounced Christianity in his early 20s and became a professor of English. He traveled to the United States and Europe for advanced study; on
More about Lin Yutang...
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“For a Westerner, it is usually sufficient for a proposition to be logically sound. For a Chinese it is not sufficient that a proposition be logically correct, but it must be at the same time in accord with human nature.” 7 likes
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