Reading about Taiwanese History

books about Taiwanese history

On Wednesday I attended the my first class of the Taiwan Studies course at NCCU (國立政治大學). The class was Taiwanese History. It was good to finally meet some of my classmates and start to get the feeling of being a part of the university. Although the holiday next week means that the regular full schedule of classes won't start until next month. 

Today I visited the Tai-uan e Tiam (台灣e店) to buy a couple of the books recommended for the course. The two books I purchased were the very weighty The Island of Formosa: Past and Present by James Davidson and Through Formosa by Owen Rutter. I actually planned to buy a couple more, but they weren't in stock.

The Island of Formosa was first published in 1903. Davidson was a US Consul who spent about 8 years living in Taiwan. Through Formosa was written by Owen Rutter and published in 1923. Its subtitle is An Account of Japan's Island Colony. Rutter wrote a number of books about his travels in Asia. I can't really comment any more on the two books now, but I will read them in the next few weeks.

At Taiwanderful I made a reading list for the Taiwanese History course. This is based on books Prof. Chou recommended during the first class and also a list of books given to me by Emily (my 學姐, "older sister classmate" — English lacks an equivalent term for this word). If you want to suggest any books you can leave a comment there. I will also update the list during the semester. If you follow the links at the bottom of the page you can find some very useful books including George Kerr's Formosa Betrayed in digital formats. 

3 thoughts on “Reading about Taiwanese History

  1. hi David,

    is your classes in 政治大學 taught in English or Mandarin? I imagine there will be some difficulty for people on either side of the spectrum—for the Taiwanese students to read English and discuss it in English (or Mandarin) and people like you. what do you think?

  2. Shan, the classes are taught in English. I think for the Taiwanese students writing and discussing in English might be difficult, but doing research in Chinese is not a problem. For foreign students the reverse applies, so everyone has their advantages and disadvantages.

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