Asian Review of Books

Asian Review of Books


Interviews with authors of books reviewed in the Asian Review of Books.

Robert D. Kaplan, "The Loom of Time: Between Empire and Anarchy, from the Mediterranean to China" (Random House, 2023)

April 11, 2024

The Loom of Time

Robert D. Kaplan
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

The Middle East remains one of the world’s most complicated, thorny—and, uncharitably, unstable—parts of the world, as countless headlines make clear.…

Kyokutei Bakin, "Eight Dogs, Or Hakkenden: Part Two--His Master's Blade" (Cornell UP, 2024)

April 4, 2024

Eight Dogs, Or Hakkenden

Kyokutei Bakin
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

Glynne Walley, translator of classic Japanese novel Hakkenden, joins us on the podcast again to talk about his second translated volume: Hakkenden, Pa…

David Veevers, "The Great Defiance: How the World Took on the British Empire" (Ebury Press, 2023)

March 28, 2024

The Great Defiance

David Veevers
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

It’s very easy to study the history of the British Empire from the perspective of, well, the British–and to extend the early 20th century version of t…

Noo Saro-Wiwa, "Black Ghosts: A Journey Into the Lives of Africans in China" (Canongate Books, 2024)

March 21, 2024

Black Ghosts

Noo Saro-Wiwa
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

Just a decade ago, before COVID upended everything, tens of thousands of migrants from African countries traveled to China in search of economic oppor…

Julie Kalman, "The Kings of Algiers: How Two Jewish Families Shaped the Mediterranean World During the Napoleonic Wars and Beyond" (Princeton UP, 2023)

March 14, 2024

The Kings of Algiers

Julie Kalman
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

On July 27th, 1827, the dey of Algiers struck the French consul over his country’s refusal to pay back its debts–specifically, to two Jewish merchant …

Ben Rothenberg, "Naomi Osaka: Her Journey to Finding Her Power and Her Voice" (Dutton, 2024)

March 7, 2024

Naomi Osaka

Ben Rothenberg
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

In July 2021, Naomi Osaka—world number 1 women’s tennis player—lit the Olympic Cauldron at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The half-Japanese, half-American, …

Thomas J. Barfield, "Shadow Empires: An Alternative Imperial History" (Princeton UP, 2023)

March 1, 2024

Shadow Empires

Thomas J. Barfield
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

Empires are one of the most common forms of political structure in history—yet no empire is alike. We have our “standard” view of empire: perhaps the …

Simon Partner, "Koume's World: The Life and Work of a Samurai Woman Before and After the Meiji Restoration" (Columbia UP, 2023)

February 22, 2024

Koume's World

Simon Partner
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

In 1864, on a midsummer’s day, Kawai Koume, a 60-year old matriarch of a samurai family in Wakayama, makes a note in her diary, which she had dutifull…

Diego Javier Luis, "The First Asians in the Americas: A Transpacific History" (Harvard UP, 2024)

February 15, 2024

The First Asians in the Americas

Diego Javier Luis
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

There’s a popular folk hero in Puebla, Mexico—Catarina de San Juan, who Mexicans hailed as a devoted religious figure after her death in 1688. She’s c…

Gregory Wallance, "Into Siberia: George Kennan's Epic Journey Through the Brutal, Frozen Heart of Russia" (St. Martin's Press, 2023)

February 8, 2024

Into Siberia

Gregory Wallance
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

It’s perhaps one of history’s funny accidents that relations between the U.S. and Russia were changed not by one, but two, George Kennans. Decades bef…

Joshua Ehrlich, "The East India Company and the Politics of Knowledge" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

February 1, 2024

The East India Company and the Politics of Knowledge

Joshua Ehrlich
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

The East India Company was a unique entity in world history: More than just a commercial enterprise, the Company tried to act as its own government. N…

Adrian Goldsworthy, "Rome and Persia: The Seven Hundred Year Rivalry" (Basic Books, 2023)

January 25, 2024

Rome and Persia

Adrian Goldsworthy
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

For almost seven centuries, two powers dominated the region we now call the Middle East: Rome and Persia. From the west: The Roman Republic, later the…

Agnes Chew, "Eternal Summer of My Homeland" (Epigram Books, 2023)

January 18, 2024

Eternal Summer of My Homeland

Agnes Chew
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

The opening story of Eternal Summer of My Homeland (Epigram Book, 2023) the debut story collection from Singaporean author Agnes Chew, is about grief.…

Lindsay Pereira, "The Memoirs of Valmiki Rao" (Vintage Books, 2023)

January 11, 2024

The Memoirs of Valmiki Rao

Lindsay Pereira
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

In December 1992, Hindu nationalists seize the Babri Masjid mosque and tear it down, proclaiming their wish to build a Hindu temple in its stead. The …

Timothy Brook, "The Price of Collapse: The Little Ice Age and the Fall of Ming China" (Princeton UP, 2023)

January 4, 2024

The Price of Collapse

Timothy Brook
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

Ming China in 1642 had suffered a series of disasters. Floods, and then drought had destroyed successive rice crops, sending the price of grain to as…

Scott D. Seligman, "Murder in Manchuria: The True Story of a Jewish Virtuoso, Russian Fascists, a French Diplomat, and a Japanese Spy in Occupied China" (U Nebraska Press, 2023)

December 28, 2023

Murder in Manchuria

Scott D. Seligman
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

On an August night in 1933 Harbin in then-Japanese controlled Manchuria–Semyon Kaspe, French citizen, famed concert musician, and Russian Jew, is abdu…

Elise Hu, "Flawless: Lessons in Looks and Culture from the K-Beauty Capital" (Dutton, 2023)

December 21, 2023


Elise Hu
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

In August, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to complain about how U.S. regulations are holding local sunscreens back compared t…

Hugo Wong, "America's Lost Chinese: The Rise and Fall of a Migrant Family Dream" (Oxford UP, 2023)

December 14, 2023

America's Lost Chinese

Hugo Wong
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

Like countless other migrants from China, Hugo Wong’s great-grandfathers–Wong Foon Chuck and Leung Hing–travel across the Pacific to make a life for t…

Susan Blumberg-Kason, "Bernardine's Shanghai Salon: The Story of the Doyenne of Old China" (Post Hill Press, 2023)

December 7, 2023

Bernardine's Shanghai Salon

Susan Blumberg-Kason
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

In 1929, Bernardine Szold Fritz left Paris on a train bound for China. She was on her way to her fourth wedding, and her fourth husband: An American i…

John Zubrzycki, "Dethroned: The Downfall of India’s Princely States" (Hurst, 2024)

November 30, 2023


John Zubrzycki
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

Post-independence India had a big problem–about 40% of its land wasn’t, well, India. Instead, this land was in the hands of the princely states: Ruler…