Chinese Gods: An Introduction to Chinese Folk Religion Paperback – 1 Jan 2009
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Even Chamberlain would admit there's a lot more about Chinese folk religion, more than Chinese Gods (or even several books) could cover. But most readers will finish this book knowing substantially more than when they started it. -- Cairns Media Magazine, Jan 2009
The book is a fascinating collection of all major gods, and a great resource for any historical or religious bookshelf. -- HK Magazine, Feb 2009
For the uncountable numbers of overseas visitors who visit Chinese temples and puzzle over the carvings of fierce and gentle deities, or for those who wonder just who is being venerated in the small shrine at the back of a Chinese restaurant, this is a little gem of a book. -- China.org.cn, March 4, 2009
The book is a fascinating collection of all major gods, and a great resource for any historical or religious bookshelf.See all Product Description
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There's no discernible system of organization for the random stories and anecdotes he tosses around like unappetizing legumes, and furthermore he never cites sources or explains where he heard these stories he passes on, making it impossible to try to figure out where the regionalisms or interpretations might be among them. Even more hilarious is the fact that he straight-up refuses (and tells you so in the text) to attempt any kind of standard in his romanization of names and titles, leading to mass-scale confusion over what he's talking about when sometimes he uses modern pinyin, sometimes Wade-Giles, sometimes Cantonese names, sometimes Mandarin, and sometimes bizarre things he appears to be making up himself as he goes along.
We're meant to feel that this is all okay because he's making this stuff accessible to the layman, being a man of the people and whatnot. Sadly, this is also not true. His writing is an absolute pain to read; his tone and the thread of his conversation are meandering in the extreme and have an irritating quality of trying to sound knowledgeable but failing, and the intermittent whining about how scholarly sources aren't worth the paper they're printed on is aggravating and distracting. The total lack of coherent structure or organization within chapters makes trying to find any information a chore, and reading his self-satisfied tone gave me a headache.
In short, it is a terribly bad book when you are looking for concrete information on Chinese myth instead of random, unsourced anecdotes, and I am depressed that I spent ten dollars on it instead of finding something more appropriate for a student. If you're looking for a book with useful, coherent information on Chinese mythology rather than random, unsourced anecdotes, don't make my mistake.
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