• Three Tigers, One Mountain

  • A Journey Through the Bitter History and Current Conflicts of China, Korea, and Japan
  • By: Michael Booth
  • Narrated by: Julian Elfer
  • Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (122 ratings)

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Three Tigers, One Mountain

By: Michael Booth
Narrated by: Julian Elfer
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Publisher's Summary

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, the enmity is 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 continue 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.

©2020 Michael Booth (P)2020 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Three Tigers, One Mountain

Average Customer Ratings
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not much new here if you are already familiar

More or less this book seems like an excuse for the author's publisher to fund a trip around Asia. Part basic history, part observational travel, The author points out some of the basic historical conflicts between these nations, cites basic demographic data, and travels. (Spoiler alert- he likes Japan which he is already familiar, and doesn't seem to enjoy Korea or China) Not much here if you are already familiar with these historical issues or have traveled to Asia yourself. However, I did very much enjoy the narrator!

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Reads pro japan

It seems clear to me that author has a soft spot for Japan and Japanese typical of most older white people. I appreciate the author trying to tackle the sensitive issue but I feel like the book could have been better if it had a more objective view.

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Good book some minor inaccuracies

Intresting history done in a way that is pretty unique. The author did make some minor mistakes with regards to the Korean peninsula, but overall I liked it.

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Entertaining observations of the Tigers

Very entertaining reading. I’ve personally experienced many of the subtle differences between the people from three countries too. However, his digging deep into the history and particularly the museums was fascinating. Of course, we can’t stereotype any of the cultures, but history does provide a unique perspective.

The only challenge I had was the British pronunciation of some of the Asian words.

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Not what I expected but also not bad

As other reviews have said it reads at times more like a travel book, some people harshly saying the writer just wanted to do a large vacation while getting paid. I don't think that's accurate. I was wanting an in depth book about the history of all the countries, but I didn't dislike the book as it is. It focuses on certain cities and regions from each nation Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan. It is in large part about modern history of the regions. I would say I was most surprised by Taiwan, Japan's nuclear bomb program, and the comfort women. I think if you like one or all of the countries in the book you'll probably generally like the book even though it's not a 'all encompassing history explaining thousands of years of politics'.

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Informative examination of complex relationships

This book was quite enlightening on a number of fronts. The author does have a greater familiarity with Japan than the other regions visited. And it should be noted, the trek is more specific than the subtitle indicates, as distinct differentiated interest is given to both Koreas, mainland China, as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as regions of Japan.

I would disagree that this leads to a biased account, though. At the center of this story is, of course, the exploits of post-Meiji imperial Japan. And those aggressions are not glossed over in any way, shape or form. Fair time is given to all involved, and, frankly, the hardcore apologists are not favorably received by the author. In any case, he does give a well-rounded account of the history of the region, and core causes for its conflicts. Though his conclusions are not thoroughly convincing, he does give food for thought.

The only negative to be found in the book (as I recognized that the author had written another book I had purchased), is that he is really not very good as a humorist. Sticking the facts, he's fine. An occasional quip at the expense of a particularly absurd partisan, ahh okay. But when he lays out set jokes, it verges on cringeworthy. Thankfully, they are few and far between.

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  • Tim Gauntlett
  • 10-21-20

Hugely informative

I struggled to understand how someone so knowledgeable about the topic could get almost every Korean word or name so badly wrong but then I saw that it was not read by the author. Taking a step back, the author has a brilliantly engaging style and the narrator's British accent ensures that every point is portrayed with conviction. Well worth listening to.

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  • Liam Blake
  • 09-29-22

Very interesting travelogue of China, South Korea,

Very interesting travelogue of the history and current relationships between China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, by Michael Booth

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Vilja
  • 06-10-22

Informative political travel diary, not unbiased

I agree with the other reviewers saying the author's Japan apologism is rather blatant, and there were times I felt offended on behalf of the Korean people especially when the author describes even their waiters, cars and architecture unfavourably in comparison with Japan. He emphasises atrocities committed by the Japanese, and yet you always hear the "but" hovering, and generally it shows up, too. There are no buts for the war crimes of China or Korea.

That being said, it is informative and in parts insightful, rather entertaining, and I emphatically agree with the author that it would benefit the region (and the rest of the world) if history was written and taught as it happened, to the best of our collective knowledge, instead of being subject to politics or a sore national pride. (That one goes to my history teacher in junior high who tried to make the Finnish Continuation War sound noble.)

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  • ClimateLawyer
  • 08-06-21

Insightful, informed and entertaining

A wonderfully well-researched and well-written exploration of three Asian cultures. Humane and witty: like the very best journalism. Excellent as an audio book for long car journeys as well as for a book at bedtime. Also a joy to listen to a narrator who has taken the trouble to learn the correct pronunciation of foreign place names (sadly not always the case on Audible).

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  • Callum Booth
  • 05-26-21

Great

Very accessible and engaging writing style and the narration is done with conviction. Balances entertaining writing style with informative and interesting facts and history. Highly recommend.

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  • Ewa Arciszewska
  • 02-06-21

absolutely amazing book

this is one of the book you would wish to come back again after awhile