- Also check our best rated Travel Book reviews
The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China Hardcover – 14 Aug 2014
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Engaging . Narrated by this curious Englishman and peopled by a cast of natives, settlers, tourists, and ex-pats, this absorbing book is a tantalizing introduction to China's diversity and the ethnic and political dynamics at the extremes of its empire . Should interest travel junkies and students of ethnography and geopolitics (Publishers Weekly)
A swift-moving, colorful account of the bewildering array of fiercely independent ethnic groups within an uneasy Chinese "home" (Kirkus)
A witty and endearing travelogue, and one which presents a view of the country which may surprise even seasoned China watchers . An excellent exposition on how China's hard-line stance on the immovability of its borders is affecting the lives of millions living on the fringes of both a country and a society (South China Morning Post)
Honest and nostalgic, David Eimer's book is as much about his experience of modern-day China as the problem of Han totalitarianism (Shortlist)
The best of a number of recent synoptic books about the country . Eimer deftly mixes journalistic analysis with personal experiences. These include some salty tales, as the frontier towns he visits are lively places (Conde Nast Traveller)
Eimer explores the little-visited outer reaches of a nation that's more empire than country to meet the people chafing under the CCP's diktats as the state shifts into superpower gear (Wanderlust)
Bookshelves are now groaning under the weight of China travelogues, but Eimer has forged genuinely new ground as he recounts his travels to China's furthest corners . A fascinating picture of a part of the country rarely examined in the many books on China's go-go economy and fast-changing society **** (Daily Telegraph)
An engaging journal of his travels through some of these liminal lands . Lovely writing (Ben Chu, Independent)
Eimer has colourful material . A well-written adventure in far-flung places that the world needs to know more about if it is to understand China (The Times)
Eimer is especially adept at ferreting out obscure historical facts . Part travelogue with vivid descriptions of landscapes and people (Scotsman)
A fine piece of reportage, which goes a long way to explaining why the Han are seen so often as the representatives of a colonial power, and why separatists, rather than pro-democracy campaigners, are now the greatest concern in Beijing (Daily Telegraph)
Fascinating (Wexas Traveller)
Eimer is an amiable guide . The strongest sections of the book come when he stays for longer than the average backpacker - such as in China's under-reported border with Myanmar (Geographical)
An excellent introduction to China's borderlands (Daily Telegraph)
Both a fine piece of reportage and an eye-opening introduction to some of the least-known corners of the world (Daily Telegraph)
Turning his back on Shanghai and Beijing, Eimer heads for China's hinterlands . Some 50 ethnic minorities - 100m people - live in these regions and Eimer aims to give a voice to their grievances against the Han majority (Financial Times Books of the Year)
The China that looms in the political and cultural perceptions of our 21st century Western-tilted world is far from the country revealed in The Emperor Far Away . A riveting read (Tom Adair, Scotsman Travel Books of the Year)
Eimer...has forged genuinely new ground ( Daily Telegraph 2015-08-22)
A revelatory and groundbreaking insight into the divisions within modern-day China, The Emperor Far Away exposes the dark side of the world's new superpowerSee all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
The author describes the way of life of the ethnic minorities he met on his travels and the control which the government in Beijing exercises on the various minorities.
The book is very readable as the writing is a mixture of travelogue, brief history and often very colourful descriptions of the author's encounters with the people he met.
The book is in four contrasting sections which cover : Xinjiang in China's far west; Tibet ; the lawless borderlands with Myanmar, Laos and Thailand in the Golden Triangle and the frontiers with North Korea and Russia in China's northeast.
The book is timely in view of the increasing resentment and protests by the Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang over the influx of Han Chinese but, where it suits them , Beijing is happy to leave the minorities at arm's length. I enjoyed the book which gives a fascinating insight into these under reported regions of China.
Part travelogue, part historical/political analysis, this account fills a gap in our knowledge of a huge part of the global family. It is written in a down to earth and often humorous way, interspersed with the author's personal adventures.
He begins with the most troublesome minority group in China. They are the Uighurs of Xinjiang, the wild west of China, bordering on India, Pakistan, many of the central Asian Stans and Mongolia . Chinese Turkistan was once the cockpit of the Great Game, the point where the British, Russian and Chinese empires met and its name was a romantic draw to the adventurers of the past. It is a vast territory, with oil and other valuable natural resources ripe for exploitation. It is sparsely populated by Turkic muslim people who have never accepted Han Chinese authority. Now they will soon be a minority in their own region due to mass immigration of Han Chinese from the east. The tension in the area is tangible.
Tibet is his next destination. His is not the romantic view of Tibet of many westerners who have never been there. As I saw at first hand during the uprising of 1 October 1987 the Buddhist monks are not the pacifist icons they are often portrayed as in the West. They are on the front line of Chinese expansionism and are prepared to give measure for measure when they can. He laments the loss of things past and sees Tibetan culture increasingly turned into a tame tourist attractions for mass tourism from the East.
Next he reports on the south western borders of China, boundaries with Myanmar/Burma and Laos and Thailand, across which the border tribes are spread. The people there also have many Han immigrants but on the surface they coexist while within the minority groups the local customs are kept alive in private. The frontiers are porous here, not like Tibet and Xinjiang where the external borders are heavily militarised. Apart from Bhuddism the main thing which seems to link these tribal people across the national borders is the illicit trade in drugs.
Finally off to the far North East and the borderlands with North Korea. This is a really interesting part of the journey, into what used to be known as Manchuria. His analysis of the relationship between China and North Korea is really informative. The reason why the Chinese have a vested interest in keeping the North Korean state alive and what they do to maintain the status quo. That analysis is particularly interesting given the current perceived world threat from the North Korean regime. The millions of North Koreans across the border in China who have a social and now religious affinity with South Korea with the inflexible North Korean regime sandwiched between them.
Like the author I have travelled to Kashgar on a couple of occasions, first in 1987 a year before the author's first trip and again in 2002. On the first occasion I travelled by public bus from Kashgar over the mountains to Pakistan but on the second occasion I left Kashgar on the new train connection to Urumchi, capital of Xinjiang. The changes I saw in Kashgar since my first visit horrified me. The resentment of the local people is not hidden.
This is a must-read book for anyone who has any interest in the Chinese minorities. It is full of observations, analysis and fascinating people and is very well written. Highly recommended.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
Eimer brings the regions we might hear about on the news - Xinjiang, Tibet - to...Read more
Look for similar items by category