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This review is from: Complete Mandarin Chinese Book/CD Pack: Teach Yourself (Perfect Paperback)
If you have not spent time in China or been on any Chinese language courses then you might find this book to be less than useful. It proves, at least to my mind, that possessing knowledge is no indicator of ability to disseminate that knowledge. There are far too many asides, interesting though some of them are, for my liking. Generalising the behaviour of any group of people is always open to error and therefore I find it hard to understand why so many references are made about Chinese culture. In addition, the C.D does not relate directly to the text and that gives the book a disjointed feel. Thankfully for me I did not start with this book - otherwise I seriously think that I would have surrendered one third of the way into the book. If you are a little bit familiar with Mandarin then I can say that the book does seem to be fairly comprehensive regarding use of grammar - which, I might add, the author suggests is ever a free flowing thing, not set in concrete, so to speak. Two books which I do recommend are: BBC Active - Mandarin Chinese; the C.D gives the precise page to which it refers when lessons are given. In addition, Chinese Demystified - McGraw Hill cuts out the waffle and gets straight to the grammar points.