Saturday 21 December 2019

Book Review: Three Tigers, One Mountain by Michael Booth (Non-Fiction/History/Culture)

Title: Three Tigers, One Mountain
Author: Michael Booth
St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 14 April 2020
eBook - EPUB
ARC via NetGalley


There is an ancient Chinese proverb that states, “Two tigers cannot share the same mountain.” However, in East Asia, there are three tigers on that mountain: China, Japan, and Korea, and they have a long history of turmoil and tension with each other. In his latest entertaining and thought provoking narrative travelogue, Michael Booth sets out to discover how deep, really, is the enmity between these three “tiger” nations, and what prevents them from making peace. Currently China’s economic power continues to grow, Japan is becoming more militaristic, and Korea struggles to reconcile its westernized south with the dictatorial Communist north. Booth, long fascinated with the region, travels by car, ferry, train, and foot, experiencing the people and culture of these nations up close. No matter where he goes, the burden of history, and the memory of past atrocities, continues to overshadow present relationships. Ultimately, Booth seeks a way forward for these closely intertwined, neighboring nations.

An enlightening, entertaining and sometimes sobering journey through China, Japan, and Korea, Three Tigers, One Mountain is an intimate and in-depth look at some of the world’s most powerful and important countries. 

Until recently I knew little about Asia. However, a newly awakened interest in Japan and modern Japanese culture led me to request this book and I found it incredibly interesting and enlightening. I learnt many new things about these three countries and their relationships, and Booth's fun storytelling/travel guide approach made it a light and enjoyable read. Several times I laughed aloud at his jokes and witty commentary, and I felt his discussion was nicely balanced, always considering both sides of every issue. I finished feeling I had a better understanding of the complex relationships between these countries and it has left me interested to learn more. A solid four stars, and I recommend Three Tigers, One Mountain to anyone interested in Asian history and culture.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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