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Ghost Cities of China Book Reviews and Interviews, April 2015

Reviews of my book, Ghost Cities of China, and interviews with me about it that were published last month.

Ghost Cities of China book
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My new book, Ghost Cities of China, just launched in April and has been getting some rather fantastic initial media coverage. Last month, seven publications reviewed the book, three more published interviews with me, while others quoted from or referenced the book in their stories. Here’s a list of where the book has appeared last month.

Geographical Magazine

Geographical Magazine review-page-001_DCEGeographical magazine, the flagship publication of the Royal Geographical Society that has been in print since 1935, did a review of Ghost Cities in their May 2015 print edition. I also had the pleasure of meeting and being interviewed by their staff writer Tom Hart while in London. The review can be read online here.

Nature Magazine

Nature Books in brief Ghost Cities review-page-001_DCE“In this succinct study of a country bulldozed to make way for generic conurbations, China Chronicle editor Wade Shepard dispenses the facts with chilling clarity. As he examines mountains literally moved, relocations on a gargantuan scale and the duplication of Hallstatt, Austria, in Guangdong province, a stunned awe sets in.”

Nature did a quick review of Ghost Cities for their Books in Brief section that appeared in the April 2015 edition of their magazine.

The World Today, Chatham House

Chatham House World Today review_DCE“. . . offers an interesting glimpse of the strange path China is taking on its march to modernization.”

The World Today, a publication of Chatham House, reviewed Ghost Cities in both their print and online formats. It can be read online at Review: China’s Ghost Towns.

Environment and Urbanization

“Ghost Cities of China is an accessible look at one aspect of urban development in China that may help to illuminate others, by an author who holds strong opinions about the state of architecture and planning in China.”

Environment and Urbanization took a good look at Ghost Cities and reviewed it here.

Socialist Review

Socialist Review Ghost Cities Review_DCE“For anyone who has visited China beyond the usual tourist destinations and wonders why a large railway station has been built in the middle of a desert, or where the roads with no cars go to, or whether anyone will ever live in the multiplying tower blocks, Wade Shepard’s book provides some answers.”

The UK’s Socialist Review did a remarkable review of Ghost Cities of China that can be read online here.

City Weekend

City Weekend Shanghai Ghost Cities Review_DCE“Shepard suggests that ghost cities are mostly a myth — cities in the process of being built rather than failed endeavors. He travels to some of them, and finding them thriving, amuses himself by showing news reports of empty streets to locals and observing their confusion.”

Shanghai’s City Weekend did a fantastic review of Ghost Cities of China, really digging down into the core of the book’s argument.


Citiscope did a review of The World Today’s review of Ghost Cities in an article entitled Book offers new take on China’s ghost cities.

Interviews, References, Mentions

Shanghai Daily

Shanghai Daily review-page-001_DCE“In the years that followed, Shepard pounded the streets — or sometimes just dirt paths — of half-built new cities around China, talking to builders, interviewing designers, interrogating investors and meeting residents; visiting each ghost city five or six times.

The result is “Ghost Cities of China,” which examines the country’s new city movement in recent years. It considers how sites are selected for development; how policies have been created to bring cities to the countryside; how flaws in China’s fiscal system make excessive overdevelopment an inevitability; and why — as the book’s subtitle posits — in the world’s most populated country, there are entire cities without people.”

The wonderful Xu Qin from the Shanghai Daily did an interview with me about Ghost Cities of China that can be read online here.

Global Times

Ghost Cities_Global Times_DCE
Global Times editor and China: A portrait of a people author Tom Carter covered a talk that I gave at the Royal Asiatic Society in Shanghai and delivered this impressive feature for their Metro Shanghai section.

Read the full Global Times article here.


Xinhua Ghost Cities Interview-page-001_DCEXueLian, a reporter from Xinhua, a big Chinese news agency, attended my talk at the Beijing Literary Festival and latter did an interview with me about China’s ghost cities and . . . me. It’s in Chinese and I don’t believe an English language version was ever published, but the layout and space given for this story are impressive.

CRI English

Wade Shepard with Dan Levin_DCE
A reporter from CRI attended my talk that was moderated by Dan Levin from the NY Times in Beijing. Apparently, he would have preferred a different tale of urban development in China, but the dueling beards photo made up for this in full.

Read more: The Bookworm Lit Fest: Epic as Usual.

Deccan Chronicle

“A recent book, Ghost Cities of China by Wade Shepard, claims that “hundreds of thousands of university students and government employees are essentially turned into troops of urbanisation.” China knows a thing or two about military precision and applies it to all things, including urban design.”

The inimitable Austin Williams, the author of The Lure of the City: from Slums to Suburbs, referenced Ghost Cities of China in an article he wrote for the Deccan Chronicle about the new Indian city of Amaravati.

Read the full article here.

Ghost Cities of China can best be purchased through Amazon USA or Amazon UK . . . or just ask your local bookseller to stock it.


Filed under: Books, China

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3687 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: Papa Bay, Hawaii

2 comments… add one

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  • badger74 May 11, 2015, 7:52 pm

    Congratulations, man! Looking forward to reading the book. Your post a few years ago about hitch hiking around western China proved that you’ve got the goods.

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    • VagabondJourney May 13, 2015, 1:03 am

      Thank you. This is much appreciated!

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