The Greatest Mayan, Chinese "Asian History" Books of All Time

Click to learn how this list is calculated.

This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

Filter by: Genres Dates Countries
Follow on:


Asian History

Asian History is a category of books that focuses on the historical events, cultures, and societies of Asia. This category includes books that cover a wide range of topics, including the ancient civilizations of China, Japan, and India, the rise and fall of empires, the impact of colonialism, and the modernization of Asian countries. It also includes books that explore the social, political, and economic changes that have shaped the region over time. Overall, Asian History provides readers with a comprehensive understanding of the rich and diverse history of Asia.

Add additional genre filters




Add additional country filters

Date Range


Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

  1. 1. Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu

    This ancient text is a fundamental guide to the philosophy of Taoism, offering wisdom on how to live a balanced, virtuous life in harmony with the natural world and the Tao, the source of all existence. The book explores themes such as simplicity, humility, and non-aggression, emphasizing the importance of understanding and aligning oneself with the Tao. It provides guidance on leadership, personal growth, and spiritual enlightenment, advocating for a life of peace, contemplation, and connection with the universe.

    The 617th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

    This book is a biographical account of three generations of women in China, spanning the years 1909 to 1991. The narrative follows the lives of the author's grandmother, a warlord's concubine; her mother, a high-ranking official in the Communist Party; and the author herself, who grew up during the Cultural Revolution before moving to the West. The book presents a vivid portrayal of the political and social changes in China during the 20th century, as seen through the eyes of these three women.

    The 1024th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. I Ching by China

    This ancient Chinese text is a divination system and book of wisdom. It provides guidance for moral and ethical decisions through 64 hexagrams, which are six-line figures made up of broken and unbroken lines. Each hexagram represents a specific situation or state of affairs, and the text provides interpretations and advice for each. The book has been used for centuries as a tool for decision-making, prediction, and gaining deeper understanding of situations and relationships.

    The 1825th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian

    "Records of the Grand Historian" is an ancient Chinese text that provides a comprehensive history of China, from the earliest times up to the author's own period. The book is divided into five parts: the Basic Annals, the Chronological Tables, the Treatises, the Hereditary Houses, and the Biographies. It covers the lives of significant figures, political events, cultural developments, and much more. The author's objective and critical approach to history has had a profound influence on Chinese historiography and continues to be a valuable resource for understanding ancient Chinese history and culture.

    The 2917th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. A Daughter Of Han: The Autobiography Of A Chinese Working Woman by Ning Lao Tai-Tai, told to Ida Pruitt

    This book provides a personal account of a woman's life in late 19th and early 20th century China, as she navigates the complexities of poverty, tradition, and societal upheaval. Through her eyes, readers experience the struggles of the lower classes, particularly for women, in a rapidly changing society. Her story is one of resilience and determination, as she confronts challenges such as opium addiction in her family, the death of her children, and the need to work as a servant and street peddler. Her narrative offers a vivid portrayal of the customs, family life, and social hierarchies of her time, providing a valuable historical perspective on the life of an ordinary woman in China.

    The 3481st Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah

    "Falling Leaves" is a heartbreaking autobiography that recounts the life of a young girl who grows up in a wealthy but abusive family in 20th century China. Despite being the daughter of a prosperous businessman, she is treated as an outcast and blamed for her mother's death, who died shortly after her birth. The story portrays her struggle for acceptance and love within her family, her journey through the cultural revolution in China, and her eventual success as a physician in the U.S. It's a poignant exploration of the themes of familial bonds, resilience, and the human spirit's ability to overcome adversity.

    The 4798th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. The Private Life of Chairman Mao by Li Zhi-Sui

    This book is a memoir written by a personal physician who served Chairman Mao for over two decades. It offers an unprecedented and intimate look into the life and character of the powerful Chinese leader. The book reveals Mao's personal habits, manipulative nature, political maneuvers, and his disregard for human life in the pursuit of his goals. It also uncovers the power struggles within the Chinese Communist Party, providing a unique perspective on China's political history.

    The 5497th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. China Along The Yellow River by Cao Jinqing

    This book provides a detailed sociological examination of rural China through the lens of villages along the Yellow River. The author, an urban intellectual, immerses himself in the daily lives of rural residents, uncovering the profound economic struggles, social changes, and the enduring traditions that define their existence. Through vivid narrative and insightful analysis, the book explores the impact of rapid industrialization and urbanization on these communities, offering a poignant look at the disparities between China's urban and rural landscapes.

    The 5903rd Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. War Trash by Ha Jin

    The novel is a fictional memoir of a Chinese soldier who is captured during the Korean War and spends several years in American POW camps. He struggles to survive in the brutal conditions and navigate the political rivalries among the prisoners, while holding onto the hope of repatriation and the fear of being labeled a traitor by his own country. The narrative explores themes of loyalty, survival, and the human cost of war.

    The 6434th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Life And Death In Shanghai by Nien Cheng

    "Life and Death in Shanghai" is a compelling memoir by a woman who was imprisoned during China's Cultural Revolution. The narrative recounts her harrowing six-and-a-half-year experience in solitary confinement, where she was subjected to brutal interrogations and endured immense psychological and physical torment. Despite the harsh conditions, she maintained her innocence and resisted the pressures to confess to false charges of espionage. The book not only provides a personal account of survival and resilience but also serves as a poignant critique of the political turmoil and ideological fanaticism that characterized the era, offering deep insights into the cultural and historical context of the time.

    The 7855th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. Red Memory by Tania Branigan

    "Red Memory" delves into the complex legacy of Mao Zedong's rule in China, exploring how it continues to shape the nation's identity and politics. Through personal stories and interviews, the book uncovers the deep and often conflicting emotions of Chinese citizens who lived through the tumultuous periods of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. The narrative reveals a society grappling with its past, where personal memories of suffering, resilience, and ideological fervor coexist with a state-driven narrative that both reveres and selectively forgets aspects of its own history. This exploration highlights the challenges of reconciling individual trauma with collective memory and the ongoing impact of Mao's era on contemporary China.

    The 11117th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.