Heaven Does Not Block All Roads

A History of Taiwan Through the Life of Huang Chin-tao

January 2025 9781911723622 352pp
Forthcoming Pre-order
Available as an eBook
EU Customers


Huang Chin-tao was born in 1926, when Taiwan was still part of the Japanese Empire. By the time he died in 2019, Taiwan was a bustling, high-tech democracy–and Huang had lived through every twist and turn along the way. He served as a Japanese soldier in China during World War II; joined an armed uprising against Taiwan’s Chinese Nationalist post-war government; spent twenty-four years imprisoned during the island’s decades of martial law; and finally emerged to help lead the pro-democracy movement of the 1980s in his hometown, Taichung.

Drawing upon archives, memoirs, interviews and more, Anna Beth Keim tells the story of Taiwan through the journey of one extraordinary individual. From his childhood scuffling with Japanese children to his transformation into a ‘democracy farmer’, Huang’s life vividly reflects contemporary Taiwanese history, and continues to inspire young Taiwanese today who are fighting to keep their home independent.

Over roughly a century, the island transitioned from an imperial outpost to an authoritarian state to a democracy–one still at risk of being snuffed out by China. This story is uniquely Taiwanese, yet illuminates experiences shared by countries everywhere: of colonisation and its aftermath, and the ongoing struggle to be free.


Anna Beth Keim is a freelance writer and translator, who has been reporting on Taiwan since 2015. Her work has appeared in ChinaFile, Foreign Policy, YaleGlobal and The Foreign Service Journal. This is her first book.

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