John DeFrancis (1911-2009) was a legendary sinologist, linguist, and educator. His many works - the landmark ABC Chinese-English Dictionary and his myth-busting The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy among them - changed perceptions of Mandarin and the way it was taught.
John DeFrancis' book is a delightful throwback to the 1920s and
1930s when the kind of adventurous voyage he describes was not only
in vogue but also possible.
--China Review International"A keenly observed portrait of a place and people about to be devastated by war."
--Kirkus Reviews[An] insightful and engaging book. [...] DeFrancis tells memorable tales: a camel driver admits he sold his daughter into prostitution during a famine; a visit to the ruins of the lost city of Etsina, described by Marco Polo, prompts reflections on its 14th-century demise. DeFrancis's party spent two weeks under house arrest at the orders of a Muslim warlord in Gansu and eluded the Long March of the Chinese Communists by traveling down the Yellow River on an inflated sheepskin raft dubbed Titanic II.