Coming Home Crazy

An Alphabet of China Essays
“Entertaining, thought-provoking and touching.” —PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
Select Format

A captivating book about what happened to an American in China, his adventures of daily life and on the road, and what the United States looked like after he got home.

Arranged by letter of the alphabet, with at least one entry per letter, these short pieces capture the variety of daily life in contemporary China. With Bill Holm as companion, one learns what it is like to travel by “hard-seat” train to a remote village, to smuggle Chinese classics back into China, and to experience Mickey Mouse-mania in the Middle Kingdom. Writing about traditions that endure in rural areas as well as the bureaucratic absurdities an American teacher and traveler experiences in the 1980s, Holm further covers such topics as dumpling making, night soil, and banking.

This edition also includes an afterword about the country since Tiananmen.

Publish Date
6 × 9 × 0.5 in
13.9 oz

Bill Holm

Bill Holm was born in 1943 on a farm outside Minneota, Minnesota. He received a BA from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1965 and an MA from the University of Kansas in 1967.

Praise and Prizes

  • “Entertaining … Bill Holm clearly loves the Chinese people and their traditional culture.”

    Los Angeles Times
  • “[A] fantastic expedition into the whims, absurdities, smells, tastes and wonders of modern Chinese life … Bill Holm provides a warm, wise and unrelentingly witty guide to surviving China.”

    San Diego Magazine
  • “Entertaining, thought-provoking and touching. After reading his book, you won’t look at the United States or China the same way.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer
  • “I love it. It is the best book on China I have read for a long time.”

    Nien Cheng
    author of Life and Death in Shanghai
  • “The warmth, courage and enduring spirit of the Chinese people permeate the pages of Coming Home Crazy.”

    Charleston News and Courier