This sleek and compact compendium makes for a flawless, if somewhat brief overview of Taiwan, both past and present. From a startling first hand description of what has to be the world's most unusual festival (the Plague Expulsion Festival, where people come from far and wide to have fireworks launched at them) to a depiction of the Chinese island-nation's feral, headhunting past, author Steven Crook takes us on a unique journey in which he captures splendidly the texture of Taiwan, in all its modernity, orthodoxy, and peculiarity.
With an in-depth understanding of the national mindset, a keenness for exploration, and a wholly impressive - nay, striking - command of the English language, KEEPING UP WITH THE WAR GOD is, at the end of the day, a thinking man's guide to Taiwan; a series of exquisitely crafted vignettes that flow effortlessly through the lives and landscapes that comprise this perennially obscure and endlessly fascinating corner of the globe. Droll yet erudite, graceful yet unrestrained, this is a gem of a book; one for the intellectually curious and the culturally inquisitive. Here is a writer I could see myself coming back to.
Troy Parfitt, author of NOTES FROM THE OTHER CHINA - ADVENTURES IN ASIA