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Invisible China: A Journey Through Ethnic Borderlands

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3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  55 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
In this eloquent and eye-opening adventure narrative, Colin Legerton and Jacob Rawson, two Americans fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Korean, and Uyghur, throw away the guidebook and bring a hitherto unexplored side of China to light. They journey over 14,000 miles by bus and train to the farthest reaches of the country to meet the minority peoples who dwell there, talking to ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Chicago Review Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Aminta Arrington
Mar 19, 2012 Aminta Arrington rated it liked it
Sigh. I couldn't bring myself to finish it. The "Invisible" part would be the authors themselves, who reveal absolutely none of their personalities, even conversations. AS a result, there is little to tie the book together but a series of vignettes. The writing was high-quality, the concept was great, but with absent authors, it just fell flat.
Leasha
I received this book from the publisher in a Goodreads giveaway.

"We Chinese aren't like you Americans. We don't discriminate against our minorities" (43).

In Invisible China, Colin Legerton and Jacob Rawson share an account of their travels in some of the most remote, least accessible, and most ethnically diverse areas of China. This is certainly an account - a travelogue. While certainly their journey was intentionally designed for them to spend time with the minority peoples who make up a signi
...more
Andrea Skinner
Nov 05, 2016 Andrea Skinner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting book with well thought-out outline. I liked that there were pictures taken along the way to show the cultural differences and locations. Would've loved more detail and pictures but that would have made for a much longer book I'm sure.
Sharlene
Feb 09, 2011 Sharlene rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2011
This book had such potential! Just look at the synopsis:

Colin Legerton and Jacob Rawson, two Americans fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Korean, and Uyghur, throw away the guidebook and bring a hitherto unexplored side of China to light. They journey over 14,000 miles by bus and train to the farthest reaches of the country to meet the minority peoples who dwell there, talking to farmers in their fields, monks in their monasteries, fishermen on their skiffs, and herders on the steppe.

Doesn’t that make
...more
Ethan Cramer-Flood
Aug 03, 2009 Ethan Cramer-Flood rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic, entertaining, easy, and informative read. I guess you'd call this commercial non-fiction, though there are hints of journalism and academia buried in here as well.

The gist is that two recent college grads from America with an impressive knowledge of the Mandarin, Korean, and Uygur languages set off across China to explore China's often invisible minority cultures. There are 56 official minorities in China, of which the authors were able to visit 12. Doesn't sound like much,
...more
Colin
Aug 14, 2009 Colin rated it liked it
Legerton and Rawson paint an interesting, if somewhat superficial picture of the ethnic minority situation in China. As I went through the book, I was continually amazed at how frankly their subjects shared their views. Reading over their bios, though, it is no surprise that they were able to communicate so well with these minorities. I'm also incredibly impressed that they covered so much ground and spoke with so many people in only four months - truly a feat.

However, there is far more work to
...more
Josh & Tiffany
Aug 14, 2016 Josh & Tiffany rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xinjiang
From the very beginning, Invisible China felt to me like an interesting cross between a travelogue, a social commentary and a piece of journalism. As odd as that may sound, it blended quite well into an entertaining, informative narrative.

Readers follow Legerton and Rawson as they travel from the border of North Korea in the east to the far western border with Pakistan in the west, intentionally spending time with 14 minority groups along the way.

The beauty of spending time with them on their jo
...more
Chris Aylott
Oct 10, 2009 Chris Aylott rated it really liked it
Legerton and Rawson take a fascinating tour through the far corners of China, exploring a dozen of the 56 ethnic minorities living on China's borders.

It's one of those books that reminds you of the true size of China, how different its many peoples really are from each other -- and that China is not so much a nation as it is an (occasionally brutal) empire, whose border peoples have more in common with their neighbors than they do with Beijing.
Adlowe
Jan 15, 2010 Adlowe rated it liked it
A nice little book on two foreign men traveling around China and interviewing some of the people from some minority ethnicities of China.
Provides interesting insight into minority ethnicities in China, and is a great introduction to foreigners who know nothing about that part of China. However, the book does not go into much detail about each of the peoples it explores. It is more about getting people curious.
Elizabeth
Dec 26, 2010 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Invisible China by Colin Legerton
Very informative book telling about people in different parts of China. I enjoyed learning about minority ethnic groups. Culture, history, foods and customs, a great book for anyone interested in China in general but especially good for those researching ethnic groups of China, the "Middle Kingdom."
Paul
Oct 04, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it
Legerton and Rawson weave an interesting tale of their visits across China, to minority areas seldom heard of or discussed. Their level of access is impressive, and very interesting to read about.
Ellen
Feb 14, 2010 Ellen rated it really liked it
An interesting and fast-paced look at some of China's minorities. I'd only heard of a few before reading this book, and now I'd really like to learn a lot more about these intriguing groups.
Marge
Oct 24, 2009 Marge rated it liked it
Gives a sense of the wide variations between minorities. I learned that potatoes are a major Chinese crop.
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