[BOOK] Taiwan during the white terror: Green Island by Shawna Yang Ryan

Warning: This book is not a tourist guide about Green Island.

My profound interest for Taiwan led me to explore the best but also the darkest moments of its history. Although Taiwan’s history is full of agitated times and conflicts, one particularly stroke me by it’s heartbreaking nature: the white terror period (1947 -1987). The Martial law effectively started in 1949, two years after the infamous  February 28 Incident in 1947 that I’ve always as the real beginning of the White Terror period.


Green Island written by Shawna Yang Ryan a Taiwanese American, is a novel about the life of a Taiwanese family during the changing time of the Island in the second half of the 20’s century.

This family navigates through times as each generation get impacted by their choices and the choices of their parents before them in the context of the KMT’s authoritarian regime under martial law. Historically accurate the book gives good insights on that period.

This book is a fiction very close to reality as most events did really happened and characters were inspired by real Taiwanese people accused (falsely or not) of opposing the dictatorial regime back then. The story leads you through a number of emotions from happiness to anger and heartbreak. I kept rooting for those people as the crushing power and control of authoritarian regimes impacted their life forever.

A powerful book that I highly recommend for everyone who really wish to better understand Taiwan the way it was not long ago and what makes Taiwan what it is today.

The video below is a quick introduction of the book by the Author herself:

Here is 49 min interview for Shawna Yang Ryan by ThinkTech Hawaii Youtube Channel:





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