China

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Bury What We Cannot Take • Kirstin Chen

Kirstin Chen’s novel Bury What We Cannot Take unfolds like a dream sequence, following the fictional fortunes of a southern Chinese family torn apart in 1957, eight years after the Communists’ victory and on the cusp of the Great Leap Forward. The violence and trauma visited upon millions of innocent Chinese […]

By |May 24th, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments

City of Devils: A Shanghai Noir • Paul French

City of Devils: A Shanghai Noir is a masterpiece, one that could probably only have been written by Paul French. This narrative non-fiction account of Western gangsters in 1930s Shanghai is I think his best work – even better than Midnight in Peking, which was an investigation into the unsolved […]

By |April 9th, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Shanghai Lawyer • Norwood F. Allman

Shanghai Lawyer. It’s an uninspiring title and even the author’s name – Norwood F. Allman – has the dullness of an accountant about it. But Allman was very much more than just a lawyer, and his memoir is one of my all-time favourites. For breadth and depth of experience during […]

By |March 9th, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments

The Gunpowder Age: China, Military Innovation, and the Rise of the West in World History • Tonio Andrade

Tonio Andrade is one of the best historians currently writing about East Asia, and The Gunpowder Age (2016) is the best of his three excellent books. It expands on the Lost Colony’s comparison of European and Chinese military might during the 1660s, when Koxinga’s remnant Ming forces laid siege to the Dutch […]

By |January 15th, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments

The Green Phoenix • Alice Poon

Taking us from the Mongolian steppes to China’s imperial court, The Green Phoenix is an epic historical novel chronicling the life of a remarkable woman who shaped the founding decades of the Qing dynasty. In 1625 twelve-year-old Mongol Princess Bumbutai becomes a consort of Hong Taiji, soon to be the […]

By |October 4th, 2017|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Bloody Saturday: Shanghai’s Darkest Day • Paul French

When did the Second World War begin? The conventional date is September 1, 1939, with Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland and the subsequent declarations of war by France and the United Kingdom on the third of the month. However, with a growing appreciation for China’s important wartime role, historians are increasingly looking to the Second Sino-Japanese […]

By |August 7th, 2017|Uncategorised|0 Comments

The Silver Way: China, Spanish America and the birth of globalisation 1565–1815 • Peter Gordon and Juan José Morales 

 

 This small book – a Penguin Special weighing in at a hundred pages – packs a punch, and though no more than an afternoon’s easy reading, it may well alter the way you think about the history of China and globalization.

The “Silver Way” in the title refers to the “Ruta […]

By |July 12th, 2017|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Through the Looking Glass: China’s Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao • Paul French

Late at night and deep into research – i.e. drinking heavily while trawling the Internet – I was becoming increasingly convinced that my idea for a book was a brilliant one. Yes, I would retrace Peter Fleming’s journey from Peking to Kashmir described in his 1936 travel classic News From […]

By |July 12th, 2017|Uncategorised|0 Comments

What Never Leaves • Daniel Tam-Claiborne

“Why should I blame anyone but myself if I cannot understand what I know nothing about?”

We are all—even the best of us—quick to judge. The unfamiliar confuses, upsets, and undermines our conventions, forcing us to put aside what we’re accustomed to, including the distinct, learned ways in which we’ve come […]

By |June 9th, 2017|Uncategorised|0 Comments

American Agent • John C. Caldwell and Mark Gayn

Published in 1947 in the wake of a war that consumed the Pacific, American Agent is the uninspiring title of a remarkable true story. American involvement in the local Chinese resistance to the Japanese was little known at the time, even more rarely reported on, and barely acknowledged by the powers in Washington […]

By |May 23rd, 2017|Uncategorised|0 Comments