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Wild China: Natural Wonders of the World's Most Enigmatic Land Paperback – 8 May 2008
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"An exquisite and intriguing look at a country that is ever so much more than the horrendous pollution and overcrowding of Beijing and other Chinese megacities. This is China as the country, its peoples, and its natural inhabitants were before industrialization." -- Bruce Fellman "TimeOut" (08/08/2008)
A stunning natural history tour of a magnificent and awe-inspiring country.See all Product description
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The book is divided into three main sections, with the middle section having 6 subsections.
* Section one contains the Introduction, a brief overview of China, it's food, people, plants, animals, etc.
* Section two contains the meat of the book. It is divided into 6 subsections: The Heartland, North Of The Wall, The Tibetan Plateau, Yunnan, The Great Rice Bowl & Crowded Shores.
The Heartland opens with information on the Yellow River and goes on to Pandas, Golden snub-nosed monkeys & Taikin amongst other animals and also introduces the more esoteric aspects of Chinese life.
North Of The Wall takes us through the coldest and driest regions of China, and introduces several ethnic groups the Hezhe, the reindeer-herding Ewenki and then on to the Taklimakan, a desert whose name has been translated as "you go in and you never come out". There is also the rather surprising town of Turpan, which manages to grow grapes in the midst of the desert.
The Tibetan Plateau discusses what life is like in the Himalayas and on the Plateau itself. Despite the inhospitality of the area, life thrives here, from tiny Pika to the cunning looking Tibetan fox to the Chiru and on to the great Yak. There are even snake that live in hot springs. Buddhism is discussed next, with information on how the religion melds with the landscape.
Yunnan is a land of forests and steep cliffs. From monkeys to suspension cable bridges over the gorges, one apparently needs to be fit to get around here. The fauna and flora are equally surprising, with the Temminck's tragopan and the elephant's foot yam. There is also more information on the local people, the Dai.
The Great Rice Bowl is a place of towering karst formations, caves and rice paddies. Among the animals that are discussed are the Chinese giant salamander, the Siberian crane and a particular variety of carp that has an unexpected relationship with the paddy farmers.
Crowded Shores takes us to China's coast, along with China's future. There are animals here, but there's strong competition from humankind too. Can old and new, human and animal continue to coexist happily?
* Section Three contains the gazetteer, a geographical dictionary/directory, a section on further reading and the Index.
Generally, I'm very impressed with this book. It contains masses of information about China, it's people, animals and plants. It also has still photography to rival that of the DVD series. The one thing that lets it down, in my estimation, is the layout. Text, pictures and little subsections are sprinkled throughout, which makes reading this book quite a haphazard experience. I found I couldn't simply sit and read the book without being distracted by an interesting picture or subsection. This made reading it slightly jarring, and is the reason I give this book 4 stars instead of 5.
Overall, though, I'd definitely buy this book again. It works very well as an expansion to details that were glossed over in the TV series, and contains a lot of new information. Buy this book and the DVD for the complete Wild China experience.
having seen the video several times, i found the book was essential to get the places' names right and so forth, as hard to understand in the video because of difficult spelling.
great images and very inspiring
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