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Books that offer deep insights into history, politics, culture, and society Part II.

Books that offer deep insights into history, politics, culture, and society Part II.

By Akale MandunduPublished about a month ago 3 min read
Books that offer deep insights into history, politics, culture, and society Part II.
Photo by Erika Fletcher on Unsplash

1. "Indelible City: Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong" by Louisa Lim provides a compelling and comprehensive account of the history, culture, and identity of Hong Kong, a city that has been at the crossroads of East and West for centuries. Lim, who is half-Chinese and half-English and was raised in Hong Kong, uses her journalism background to craft a deeply researched and personal narrative that spans from the 1842 British takeover to the 1997 return to China, and up to the 2019 protests.

Through meticulous research and firsthand accounts, Lim weaves a narrative that captures the essence of Hong Kong's complex past and present. She explores the effects of British colonization, which transformed Hong Kong into a bustling international hub, and the implications of its handover to China in 1997 under the "one country, two systems" principle. As she charts the city's journey through history, she also highlights the resilience and defiance of its people, who have continuously fought for autonomy, democracy, and human rights.

Lim's focus on the 2019 protests provides readers with an intimate look at the most recent chapter in Hong Kong's history. The protests, which were sparked by proposed changes to extradition laws, quickly evolved into a larger movement demanding political freedom and independence from China. Lim's account humanizes the struggles of Hong Kong's citizens, painting a vivid picture of their courage and determination in the face of adversity.

Throughout the book, Lim incorporates stories from ordinary people living in Hong Kong, giving voice to those who have been at the forefront of the city's fight for self-determination. Her work goes beyond the headlines to provide readers with a nuanced and immersive exploration of the city's cultural heritage, political landscape, and the challenges it faces in the modern world.

"Indelible City" is not just a history of Hong Kong, but a powerful reflection on the broader themes of identity, power, and resistance. It is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the multifaceted nature of Hong Kong's journey and its significance on the global stage. Lim's captivating prose and incisive analysis make this book an essential and thought-provoking read.

2. "Tiananmen 1989: Our Shattered Hopes" is a graphic memoir that offers a poignant and deeply personal account of the events that unfolded in Tiananmen Square in 1989. The story is co-authored by Lun Zhang, who was directly involved in the management and safety of the protests, along with Adrien Gombeaud and Ameziane, who lend their narrative and illustrative talents to the project.

The graphic memoir serves as a vivid portrayal of one of the most significant and tragic moments in modern Chinese history. Through detailed illustrations and compelling storytelling, the authors transport readers to the heart of the protests, capturing the atmosphere and the emotions of the time. The famous image of a lone protester facing down a line of tanks is just one of the many powerful visual representations of the courage and determination of the demonstrators.

Zhang's firsthand experience provides a unique perspective on the events leading up to and during the protests. His reflections offer a broader context of the political and social climate in China at the time, shedding light on the hopes and aspirations of the protesters. He explores the motivations and struggles of the people involved, as well as the brutal response from the Chinese government that forever changed the course of history.

The memoir also delves into the aftermath of the protests, examining the impact on those who participated and the broader consequences for Chinese society. It captures the sense of betrayal and shattered dreams experienced by many who had hoped for political reform and greater freedoms.

The collaboration between Zhang, Gombeaud, and Ameziane brings a multidimensional approach to the storytelling, blending textual narrative with striking visuals to create a powerful and immersive reading experience. The memoir conveys a wide range of emotions, from hope and determination to fear and despair, highlighting the complexity of the events and their lasting impact on individuals and society.

"Tiananmen 1989: Our Shattered Hopes" serves as both a historical account and a deeply personal narrative, offering readers a chance to engage with the history of the Tiananmen Square protests on a profound level. It is a significant work that honors the memory of those who fought for change and provides a window into a pivotal moment in China's history.

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