Lost on Planet China: Book summary and reviews of Lost on Planet China by J. Maarten Troost

Lost on Planet China

The Strange and True Story of One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation, or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid.

By J. Maarten Troost

Lost on Planet China
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2008,
    304 pages.

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Book Summary

Maarten Troost has charmed legions of readers with his laugh-out-loud tales of wandering the remote islands of the South Pacific. When the travel bug hit again, he decided to go big-time, taking on the world’s most populous and intriguing nation. In Lost on Planet China, Troost escorts readers on a rollicking journey through the new beating heart of the modern world, from the megalopolises of Beijing and Shanghai to the Gobi Desert and the hinterlands of Tibet.

Lost on Planet China finds Troost dodging deadly drivers in Shanghai; eating Yak in Tibet; deciphering restaurant menus (offering local favorites such as Cattle Penis with Garlic); visiting with Chairman Mao (still dead, very orange); and hiking (with 80,000 other people) up Tai Shan, China’s most revered mountain. But in addition to his trademark gonzo adventures, the book also delivers a telling look at a vast and complex country on the brink of transformation that will soon shape the way we all work, live, and think. As Troost shows, while we may be familiar with Yao Ming or dim sum or the cheap, plastic products that line the shelves of every store, the real China remains a world—indeed, a planet--unto itself.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Interspersing sections of cultural history - and plenty of tasty and not-so-tasty culinary tidbits-throughout his travelogue, Troost offers a serviceable primer on life in China ... Not as smooth or consistently engaging as his first two books, but worthwhile reading for armchair travelers and Sinophiles." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Starred Review. Those looking for tips on Hong Kong night life or other touristy secrets will be disappointed—few names are named—but readers interested in a warts-and-all look at this complicated, evolving country will find this a rich education." - Publishers Weekly.

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Author Information

J. Maarten Troost Author Biography

Travel writer J. Maarten Troost was born in 1969 in the Netherlands and is of Dutch-Czech descent. He grew up in Canada and presently lives in Washington DC. He is the author of three books which are about his experiences in the Pacific Islands (The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Getting Stoned With Savages and Headhunters on My Doorstep) and one book about his 3-month trip to China (Lost on Planet China). He has also written many essays for The Atlantic Monthly and The Washington Post. While he was a student, he wrote essays for the Prague Post.

Troost spent two years of his life in Kiribati in the Equatorial Pacific and when he returned, he was hired as a consultant by the World Bank. After spending many years in Fiji and Vanuatu, he is settled in the U.S with his wife and two sons.

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