Customer Reviews for

Lost on Planet China: One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Highly recommended

If you are headed to China you must read this book first. Then you won't be completely blind when you land. After reading the book and then traveling in China it made my China exper5ience much more interesting.

posted by timebandit8 on November 2, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

surprisingly accurate and often funny too

I was a Chinese language and history major. I lived in China from 1992 to 2002 and have had the pleasure of traveling all over the PRC. When this air force intelligence officer I go to church with (he was also a Chinese language major) gave me this book to read, I figur...
I was a Chinese language and history major. I lived in China from 1992 to 2002 and have had the pleasure of traveling all over the PRC. When this air force intelligence officer I go to church with (he was also a Chinese language major) gave me this book to read, I figured what the heck. When the author gets to Beijing, a China hand named Dan helps him out with things. I was wondering if this China hand could be the Dan I used to work with back in Guangdong in the mid to late 90s. Sure enough, last night around 1 am, I had just finished the book (bad ending) and was reading the acknowledgments and read the name "Dan Friedman" who was the guy I used to work with. That made me smile at how small this world is getting. The author points out that if he'd been in his 20s with lungs of steel, that China (Shanghai in particular) would be a pretty hip place to live, and he's right. I was a young cowboy and had no problems dealing with China head on. There is no doubt about it. China is racing, and only those who want and can run very fast will enjoy it. If you enjoy peace, tranquility, cleanliness, modesty, honesty, you should stay out of China. I have not read any other works by Mr. Troost, but his reaction to China is the reaction of a normal person traveling around the country. To the negative comments here, I would point out that this is a guy that lived in the South Pacific for many years, not exactly great breeding gound for snobby arrogant ugly americans. The book is accurate. There is more to China than what's in the book, but the book isn't wrong about anything either. It's clear the book had to be wrapped up as the author offers no brilliant conclusions, but there's really nothing brilliant anyone can say either. China is working very hard to be the largest economy in the world. All other priorities in China are secondary. After 10 years of crappy air, I decided that I had had enough. I now live in Hawaii, perfect weather, perfect air, and I appreciate it! I go to China every once in awhile. If you are planning a first trip to China, do 3 days in Shanghai, 3 in Beijing and 3 in Chengdu, then go to Xinjiang and spend 10 days wandering around Urumqi, Kashgar and Hotan. Take trains, ferries, overnight buses are a hoot. Eat hotpot everywhere. Have fun, travel broadly, be happy, don't get ripped off, be safe. aloha.

posted by TexanJF on January 12, 2011

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  • Posted July 16, 2012

    I loved this book as much as Troost's others! I have picked out

    I loved this book as much as Troost's others! I have picked out passages to read to my AP Environmental Science students and recommended it to several people. His humor is reminiscent of "Last Chance to See" by Douglas Adams and anything by Bill Bryson.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2008

    China...Good & Bad

    I have to agree and disagree with the other reviewer here. I LOVED Troost's first two books, especially The Sex Lives of Cannibals, and as someone who reads everything and passes it on, these books share a spot on the 'Keeper' bookshelf in my home. As for the first reviewer, I feel I have something to say to him/her? HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO CHINA??????? Well, I have and Troost. sometimes sadly, has it spot on. It is hard not to be cynical in this country of controversy and severe contrasts. We went to China to rescue 'yes, rescue' our 3 yr old handicapped daughter from a life of certain despair and poverty. The air was horrifying, the contrast between the 'haves' and the have-nots' made this pacifist liberal democrat fume. We traveled to Wuhan, a city that Mr. Troost wisely stayed away from and we were appalled. This being said, I saw awe-inspiring beauty, kind and generous people and history that is so ancient that it goes beyond belief. So was Mr. Troost cynical? Yes, but unlike his bumbling, hilarious adventures in the South Pacific, the subject matter lends itself to cynicism. My one recommendation to Mr. Troost, I know you wanted to travel authentically, but a really good guide/interpretor in the Han sections of China would have been a wise investment. Keep traveling, keep writing, I'll keep reading. This book also goes on my 'keep' shelf'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2014

    living doctor pen name,

    living doctor pen name,

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    A travel book so good I'm sending copies to my friends.  It's al

    A travel book so good I'm sending copies to my friends.  It's also the best resource I've found on the rapidly changing giant that is 21st Century China.

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  • Posted August 7, 2011

    LOVE THIS BOOK!!

    I have read all of J Maarten Troost's books. This one is just as good!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

    Humorous account of China today

    I visited Beijing and Lanzhou in Sept./Oct. of 2009 with friends. Maarten Troost gives an accurate picture of the people, history, and current bustling society. He lends both humor and intellect in his writing. It was an enjoyable read that I will be pass on to my friend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2010

    Fun and Informative Read!

    After having been to China three times in the past 10 years, I really understood what the author was talking about in this funny and informative book. He had me laughing out loud in several places and remembering some things about my trips both fondly and with humor. If you have never experienced China firsthand, you might find some of what he says to be perplexing or off-the-wall, but my experiences and his were similar enough that I found what he wrote very confirming. China, as a whole, is a very interesting and untamed place to visit. This book confirms it for the reader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    favorite pick

    One of the funniest books I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Incredible

    Great book, could not put it down. Hillarious and a page turner.

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