It’s been awhile since I’ve written here, but now I’m back. For the past year I’ve been working on and off on editing the English version of Su Beng’s book, Taiwan’s 400 Year History. The book, which was published in 1986, is now out of print. However, the company that published the Chinese language version of Su Beng’s book 台灣人四百年史 (The Taiwanese People’s 400 Years of History) has agreed to put out a revised English version in print.
Before I started another edit of the main manuscript for the print version, I thought it would be a good idea to update the timeline of events that appears at the end of the book. A lot has happened in the 30 plus years that have passed since 1986- martial law was lifted, Taiwan had its first direct presidential election, there have been numerous social movements and Taiwan transitioned from authoritarianism to democracy.
In editing the timeline I decided two things: 1) Aside from minor copyediting issues, I would not make any major changes to the existing timeline (from 1947 to 1986), 2) The timeline would be extended up to the election of Dr. Tsai Ing-wen in 2016. I kept the starting point of the timeline at February of 1947.
It looks like I grossly underestimated the research and work involved in adding 30 years to the timeline. In fact, the timeline might end up being three times as long as the original one! After all the time and research that I’ve spent on adding 30 years onto the timeline, it’s been hard for me to be objective about what to cut.
It’s my hope is that by updating the timeline, this will make the book more relevant to new readers, thereby introducing them to Su Beng and his work. The timeline will be done by Su Beng’s birthday on November 9.
My greater hope is that one day there will be a more comprehensive translation of the Chinese language version of Su Beng’s book. The current English version of Su Beng’s book is extremely abridged at 150 pages compared to the 2000 pages of the Chinese language version.
It’s been well over a year since I’ve posted here and I will post some updates soon to fill in the gaps.