"Trading Caterpillar Fungus in Tibet is an important book, shedding light on a phenomenon that has had great impact on the economy and social life in eastern Tibet. ... Not only anthropologists active in the study of Tibetan society but anyone interested in contemporary Tibet should read this well-written and well-researched book." - Per Kværne, Asian Ethnology 79 (1)
"Sulek's monograph is an unique and remarkable contribution to the anthropology of Tibet, to regional studies of current China and Central Asia and to economic anthropology at large. It will serve well in undergraduate and graduate classes through its accessible language that gives insight into the economic and social mechanisms set in motion when a new form of income becomes available in a rural, formely poor region." - Lilian Iselin, The China Quarterly 1-2, 2020
"This monograph is an excellent and important comprehensive study of the caterpillar fungus phenomenon in Tibetan areas such as Qinghai." - Melvyn C. Goldstein, Nomadic Peoples, 2019
"A comprehensive, delightfully readable and insightful ethnographic account of the highly significant harvest and trade of caterpillar fungus, and its role in the rapid socioeconomic transformation of the Tibetan region of Golok. It is an impressive achievement." - Emily T. Yeh, University of Colorado Boulder
"This excellent study of Tibetan pastoralism by one of the best young scholars is a must read for all interested in the changing and controversial world of pastoralists in China." - Melvyn C. Goldstein, Case Western Reserve University
"A significant contribution to both the anthropology of Tibet and studies of modern China." - Toni Huber, Humboldt University of Berlin
When the demand for, and prices of caterpillar fungus (Ophiocordyceps sinensis, ‘the Himalayan Viagra’, long a part of traditional Chinese medicine) soared, the pastoralists of Golok on the Tibetan plateau where the fungus is endemic dug up, dried and sold the fungus to traders. In the process, these yak and sheep farmers, used to living on the edge of subsistence, became wealthy beyond their imagination. Trading Caterpillar Fungus in Tibet: When Economic Boom Hits Rural Area tells the story of what they do with the money they earned from gathering and trading caterpillar fungus, and what this money does to them, revealing a sophistication few outsiders would credit them for.