Author(s): Michael Booth
'The next Bill Bryson' (New York Times) explores international relations past and present between three East Asian countries - Japan, South Korea and China - in this lively, absorbing travelogue
China, Korea and Japan are the neighbours who love to hate each other. But why?
More than neighbours, these three countries are siblings from a Confucian family. They share so much culturally, from this ancient philosophy to rice-growing, art, chopsticks and more, passed down from China over millennia. In turn, China has modelled much of its economic strategy on Japan's, and adores Korean popular culture. But China and Korea haven't forgiven Japan for its imperial war crimes. They are continually in disputes about island ownership, controversial war monuments and military escalation. And despite polls suggesting the public would like these relations to improve, East Asia festers with a mutual animosity which frequently threatens to trigger a 21st-century world war.
In this deeply researched, revealing book, Michael Booth sets off travelling by car, boat, train and plane through all three countries to disentangle their knottiest problems, ending up in a fourth, Taiwan. Guided by local experts, he takes us on an enthralling journey that is by turns shocking, deeply moving, and wonderfully insightful.