Recommended Books, Movies, & Music related to A Blue Moon in China

This is a list of books I’ve read and movies that have somehow informed me and my book. The music selections listed are found in the story.

Buck, Pearl S. The Good Earth. New York, NY: Washington Square Press, 1931

Buck, Pearl S. The Man Who Changed China: The Story of Sun Yat-sen. New York, NY: Random House, 1953

Pearl S. Buck has written many novels on China. Sun Yat-sen is considered the Father of the Republic of China.

Burgess, Alan. The Small Woman. New York, NY: E.P. Dutton & Co. Inc., 1957

Gladys Aylward was a remarkable woman who felt called to go to China in the ’30s. She was English and became a missionary in a small village. Her story is one of courage and love, especially for children.

Carroll. Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. London: Macmillan & Co., 1865

Carroll, Lewis.Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Saw There. London: Macmillan & Co., 1871

Chang, Jung. Wild Swans. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1991

Wild Swans is the story of three generations of Chinese women spanning the time from the end of the last dynasty, through the Civil War that brought the Communists into power, and finally with Chang Jung, herself, who came of age during the Cultural Revolution.

Cheng, Nien. Life and Death in Shanghai. New York, NY: Grove Press, 1986

Life and Death in Shanghai is an autobiography and, I think, a must read for anyone interested in the Cultural Revolution.

Conot, Robert. American Odyssey: A Unique History of America Told Through the Life of a Great City. New York, NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1974

American Odyessey is the history of Detroit from its founding through the ’70s.

Cunningham, Philip J. Tiananmen Moon. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2009

Tiananmen Moon is a first hand account of the Tiananmen Square Protest and Massacre from the perspective of an American student studying in Beijing at the time.

Gilman, Susan Jane. Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing, 2009

Susan Jane Gilman’s book is a look at China in 1986. It is also an interesting psychological study of young American girls traveling in a foreign land.

Hesse, Herman. Siddhartha. Germany: New Directions (U.S.), 1922, 1951 (U.S.)

Herman Hesse is one of my favorite authors and Siddhartha is one of my favorite books. Reading it shaped my outlook on life.

Hoff, Benjamin. The Tao of Pooh. Dutton Books, 1982

The Tao of Pooh is a great introduction to Taoism. It is clever and spot on.

Kerouac, Jack. On the Road. New York: Viking Press, 1957  

Lao Tzu. Tao Te Ching: Translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English. New York and Toronto: Random House, Inc., 1972

This particular translation of the Tao Te China is truly beautiful, at least to me.

Zhang, Liang (compiled by); Edited by Nathan, Andrew J., Link, Perry. The Tiananmen Papers: The Chinese Leadership’s Decision to use Force Against Their Own People – In Their Own Words. New York, NY: Public Affairs, 2001

I feel like I could write a dissertation on The Tiananmen Papers. No one knows for sure if they are authentic, but if so, wow. I have to say I was very much taken by Deng Xiaoping’s speech passing his political legacy onto the next generation of Communist leaders.

Chai, Ling. A Heart for Freedom. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2011

A Heart for Freedom is the autobiography of one of the student leaders during the Tiananmen Protest of ’89.

Mah, Yen Adeline. Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 1997

This memoir is a look into how any child who is not wanted feels.

Meisner, Maurice. Mao’s China: A History of the People’s Republic. New York, NY: The Free Press, A division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1977

Milne, A. A. Winnie – the – Pooh. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1926

Milne, A. A. The House at Pooh Corner. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1928

Samagalski, Alan; Buckley, Michael. China: A Travel Survival Kit. South Yarra, Vitoria; Berkley, CA: Lonely Planet Publications, 1984

Selle, Earl Albert. Donald of China. New York and London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1948                        

Donald of China. Who knew? This book was a great find at a used bookstore. Apparently he was a real person and he did exist. He is reputed to have exerted great influence on Imperial scholars and, later, Chiang Kai Shek.

Schell, Orville. Discos and Democracy: China in the Throes of Reform. New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 1988

Schell, Orville. Mandate of Heaven: The Legacy of Tiananmen Square and the Next Generation of China’s Leaders. New York, NY: Touchstone, 1994

I love how Orville Schell writes, his descriptions, his insights, his subject matters (and his titles.) I have a stack yet to be read. Mandate of Heaven was the first one I finished. Discos and Democracy was particularly interesting because, not only I was there at the time, but the Massacre hadn’t happened yet.

Shen, Tong; Yen, Marianne. Almost a Revolution: The Story of a Chinese Student’s Journey From Boyhood To Leadership in Tiananmen Square. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990

Shen Tong was one of the student leaders during the Tiananmen Square protests in ’89. Almost a Revolution is his autobiography.

Smith, Betty. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Harper & Brothers, 1943  

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my favorite books; it influenced me greatly.

Spence, Jonathan D. God’s Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 1996

God’s Chinese Son was quite an eye-opener on many levels. Be forewarned the story becomes a bloodbath. What is it about Nanking and massacres?

Su, Xiaobang. Memoir of Misfortune: Translated by Zhu Hong. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knoft, 2001

Su Xiaobang lost his homeland for a few sentences spoken to the students on the Square in ’89. (Ok, it’s true, he was already on the political watch list for his television series, River Elegy.) He escaped to America. This book is a deep introspection of an artist looking at himself.

Sun, Shuyun. The Long March: The True History of Communist China’s Founding Myth. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2006

Theroux, Paul. Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train Through China. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1988

Travel story by one of the foremost travel writers. (I read it to remember what the bathrooms were like on the trains; I seem to have blocked out that memory.)

Thomas, Gordon. Chaos Under Heaven: The Shocking Story Behind China’s Search for Democracy. New York, NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1991

Chaos Under Heaven is an investigative journalist’s story of why the Massacre happened. Gordon Thomas wasn’t there, but he is known for writing these kinds of books. I really liked it; his ideas were intriguing, and it reminded my of a Ken Follet book.

Wasserstrom, Jeffrey N. China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010

A good, quick, and rather comprehensive book on China’s history and what’s going on today.

Xie, Bingying. A Woman Soldier’s Own Story: Translated by Lily Chia Brissman & Barry Brissman. New York, NY: Berkley Publishing Group, 2001

This story is intense. Xie Bingying was part of the first wave of revoluntaries in China after the revolution of 1911. She was one strong and determined woman. To me, she and Cheng Nien are woven of the same cloth.

Yang, Rae. Spider Eaters. Berkley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1997

Yang Rae is a great writer and this is a very honest book telling the difficult truth of being an enthusiastic Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution.


The King and I. Dir. Walter Lang. Charles Brackett, Darryl F. Zanuck, 1956

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Dir. Elia Kazan. Louis D. Lighton, 1945

55 Days at Peking. Dir. Nicholas Ray, Andrew Marton, Guy Green. Samual Bronston Productions, 1963 Days at Peking is about the Boxer Rebellion.  

Inn of the Sixth Happiness. Dir. Mark Robson. Buddy Alder, 1958

Inn of the Sixth Happiness is Hollywood’s version of the Gladys Aylward story. Ingrid Bergman.

Morning Sun. Dir. Carma Hinton, Geremie Barme, Richard Gordon, 2003

Psychological study of the Cultural Revolution.

Summer Palace. Dir. Lou Ye. Sylvain Burszteijn, Fang Li, Nai An, 2006

Story is about a young girl in Beijing. In the background is the Tiananmen Protest then Massacre.

Tank Man. Dir. Antony Thomas. PBS Frontline Documentary, 2006

A comprehensive look at the story behind the photograph.

Gate of Heavenly Peace. Dir. Carma Hinton, Geremie Barme, Richard Gordon, 1995

A documentary of the Tiananmen Square Movement.  

The Good Earth. Dir. Sidney Franklin, Gustav Machaty, Victor Fleming. Irving Thalberg, 1937

The Last Emperor. Dir. Bernardo Bertolucci. Jeremy Thomas, 1987

Pu Yi is the Last Emperor of China. This beautiful is epic and beautiful.

To Live. Dir. Zhang Yimou. Fu-Sheng Chiu, Funhong Kow, Christophe Tseng, 1994

To Live is one of the best movies ever made as far as I’m concerned. It is the story of a man and a woman and of China.

Up the Yangtze. Dir. Yung Chang. Mila Aung-Thwin, Germane Ying-Gee Wong, Jphn Christou, 2007

Up the Yangtze is a documentary chronicling the effect of the Three Gorges Dam project on the people living on the shores of the Yangtze River.

Music from the Book:

10,000 Maniacs, Hey Jack Kerouac, from In My Tribe, Elektra, 1987, vinyl record.

The Beatles, Michelle, from Rubber Soul, Parlophone, 1965, vinyl record.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, The Message, released as a single, Sugar Hill Records, 1982, vinyl record.

Jefferson Airplane, White Rabbit, from Surrealistic Pillow, RCA Victor, 1967, vinyl record.

John Denver on You Tube, Take Me Home Country Roads, from Poems, Prayers, and Promises, RCA, 1971, vinyl record.

Marvin Gaye on You Tube, Sexual Healing, from Midnight Love, Columbia Records, 1982, vinyl record.

Michael Jackson on You Tube, Human Nature, from Thriller, Epic Records, 1982, vinyl record.

Michael Jackson on You Tube, Thriller, from Thriller, Epic Records, 1982, vinyl record.

Suzanne Vega on You Tube, Marlene on the Wall, from Suzanne Vega, A&M, 1985, vinyl record.

Led Zeppelin on You Tube, Good Times, Bad Times, from Led Zeppelin, Atlantic Records, 1969, vinyl record

Rolling Stones on You Tube, Honky Tonk Woman, released as a single, Dekka Records, 1969, vinyl record.

Softcover: 18.99.   ISBN:  978-0-9904251-9-9


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