Review: "China's Bending Bodies" by Mariam Ala-Rashi Covers the Development of Global Contortionists

Circus News

Review: “China’s Bending Bodies” by Mariam Ala-Rashi Covers the Development of Global Contortionists

China’s Bending Bodies: Contortionists and Politics in China is a research study monograph that covers the theories, history, and development of global contortionists. It is highly recommended as a foundation guide for any collection strong in in-depth circus history and culture.
Cultural anthropologist Mariam Ala-Rashi grounds her survey in a world investigation of contortionist history before narrowing the focus to China. She conducts a thorough investigation of the events and influences that have made Chinese contortionism a different form than in the West, creating a backdrop for better understanding the cultural and social influences on contortionists who work in different settings. Scholars who look for the hallmarks of a well-researched study receive extensive footnotes and source materials listed in a bibliography which includes studies not just from Western resources, but around the world. They will especially appreciate the critical eye that Ala-Rashi casts upon other studies: “It should be mentioned, however, that her publication Chinese Acrobatics through the Ages offered only a few references to support her findings. This leads...
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Diane Donovan

Diane Donovan, senior reviewer for the Midwest Book Review, has been reviewing books for over forty years now, working with over 300 publishers and over 50,000 books! She is a voracious reader enjoying all kinds of books, both nonfiction and fiction. Interests range from science fiction, biography, cookbooks, and self-help titles, to poetry, history, and children's books. In this world of specialization, she considers herself a generalist with many interests. Her reviews, blogs and articles have appeared (over the past three decades) in VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates), Popular Woodworking, GRIT, The Bookwatch, Children's Bookwatch, and more. She edits Children's Bookwatch and California Bookwatch for The Midwest Book Review, and her regular column "Donovan's Bookshelf" appears in the monthly publication MBR Bookwatch, profiling the best in upcoming new releases!