I'm looking for all kinds of books which specifically focus on Kunming, e. g. its history, traditions, development, kitchen and simply everything else there's to know about this fantastic place. So far I have read "Yunnan - China South of the Clouds" by Jim Goodman, which features a short chapter on Kunming, but I'm interested in something more detailed and extensive.
On Google I found it hard to get significant search results, so I hope I can get the one or other book recommendation here. Preferred languages for the book are English, Chinese or German.
Thank you in advance!
See the book recently chosen by the Kunming Book Club (or Book Club Kunming - there's a forum thread, scroll down a bit): David Atwill's book, all about the massive 19th-century war here. There's a good bit about the Kunming Massacre, but it's all fitted into the history of Yunnan, without which you can't really understand the history of Kunming. It's in English.
Goodman is a good resource, but theres no comprehensive work out there, you need to work hard to get the grip on this. Even when it comes to Dali, theres no comprehensive English book out there, well, except some shallow nonsense. Now put this in perspective, with regard to how very very strange place Dali is, with its islamic, tibetan, han and tantric influences, and see, theres not a single book in English digging into this as a whole. Same goes for the mysterious, and once beautiful, place that was bulldozed and destroyed, and is called Kunming. Many modern books with fancy titles are very light with hardly any information except very shallow. One key for interesting information is to read in Chinese and also old books from colonial days. Thats a start. No shortcut out there. Dont forget the old photographs either, and Auguste Francois is a goldmine.
Start early: get hold of Jacqueline Misty Armijo-Hussein's 1996 Harvard PhD dissertation - Sayyid 'Ajall Shams Ad-Din: A Muslim from Central Asia Serving the Mongols in China, and Bringing 'Civilization' to Yunnan.
Shams Ad-Din was the first governor put in to rule Yunnan (capital became Kunming) in the 13th Century. Interesting man, good governor, much about his building & work in Kunming.
The Kunming Project: Urban Development in China (in Chinese and English) from 2002
This is mostly about City planning and
architecture in a City that faces rapid and drastic changes. Lots of good pictures in it too, if you are interested in Urban Design.
Great, thank you everyone for your feedback. Especially "The Kunming Project" caught my attention, but I'll also have a closer look at all of the other suggestions. As mentioned, books in Chinese language will be fine as well. I'll be on business in China this September and surely visit the one or other book store.
If you search dangdang.com or the books category of amazon.cn for 昆明 there are quite a number of titles in Chinese.
Hint for your search: There are a lot of titles featuring the word 'Yunnan', but rather few that feature 'Kunming', despite the fact that most of the former may have considerable sections on the city. And I think that most of the western foreigners here, anyway, very much feel that it is the province that is the overall interest and which remains the necessary context for the city - without this context there is considerably less to be said about what makes Kunming what it is.
If you are interested in more recent "history" Zhang Li wrote a wonderful book:
In Search of Paradise: Middle-Class Living in a Chinese Metropolis
ZHANG Li, who is originally from Kunming and now a professor of anthropology at UC Davis, offers a quite interesting analysis of the real estate market in Kunming and puts it in a larger context of other trends