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1. The Opium War (History of Modern
2. The Opium War (History of Modern
3. Commissioner Lin and the Opium
4. Changing China: Readings in the
5. The Opium War
6. The Opium War.
7. Zhongguo wai jiao shi: Ya pian
8. The Opium War by the Compilation
9. The Opium Wars
10. The Opium War Through Chinese
11. Commissioner Lin and the Opium
12. The Chinese Opium Wars
13. Opium War, 1840-1842: Barbarians
14. Deadly Dreams: Opium and the Arrow
15. The Inner Opium War (Harvard East
16. Foreign Mud: Being an Account
17. Through the Looking Glass: China's
18. From Opium War to Liberation (Guo
19. House of Deception: The CIA's
20. Chinese Account Of The Opium War

1. The Opium War (History of Modern China)
Paperback: 148 Pages (2000-12)
list price: US$22.50 -- used & new: US$22.50
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Asin: 0898751500
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A Communist Chinese view of the Opium War of 1840-42, between Britain and China, compiled in 1976 by members of the history departments of Futan University and Shanghai Teachers' University. ... Read more

2. The Opium War (History of Modern China Series)
by Chung-kuo chin tai shih tsung shu pien hsieh tsu
 Unknown Binding: 131 Pages (1976)

Asin: B0006DM504
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3. Commissioner Lin and the Opium War: A review (History critique)
by Sai-chun Lam
 Unknown Binding: Pages (1984)

Asin: B0007CE8KO
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4. Changing China: Readings in the History of China from the Opium War to the Present
 Paperback: 404 Pages (1977-01)
list price: US$11.25 -- used & new: US$35.99
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Asin: 0275648907
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5. The Opium War
by Compilation Group
 Paperback: 131 Pages (1976)

Asin: B0000E91KL
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First Edition 1976. Photographs and paintings, from 1839. Chinese account of The Opium War of 1840-42, "in which the Chinese people fought against British aggression, marked both the beginning of modern Chinese history and the start of the Chinese people's bourgeois-democratic revolution against imperialism and feudalism." ... Read more

6. The Opium War.
 Paperback: Pages (1976)

Asin: B00159S3FE
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7. Zhongguo wai jiao shi: Ya pian zhan zheng zhi Xin hai ge ming shi qi, 1840-1911 = A diplomatic history of China from the opium war to the 1911 revolution (Mandarin Chinese Edition)
by Shaofang Wang
 Unknown Binding: 419 Pages (1988)

Isbn: 7215001725
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8. The Opium War by the Compilation Group for the History of Modern China Series
by Anonymous
 Paperback: Pages (1976)

Asin: B001VYGRGK
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9. The Opium Wars
by W. Travis Hanes, Frank Sanello
Paperback: 352 Pages (2004-02-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$11.42
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Asin: 1402201494
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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In this tragic and powerful story, the two Opium Wars of 1839–1842 and 1856–1860 between Britain and China are recounted for the first time through the eyes of the Chinese as well as the Imperial West. Opium entered China during the Middle Ages when Arab traders brought it into China for medicinal purposes. As it took hold as a recreational drug, opium wrought havoc on Chinese society. By the early nineteenth century, 90 percent of the Emperor’s court and the majority of the army were opium addicts.

Britain was also a nation addicted-to tea, grown in China, and paid for with profits made from the opium trade. When China tried to ban the use of the drug and bar its Western smugglers from it gates, England decided to fight to keep open China’s ports for its importation. England, the superpower of its time, managed to do so in two wars, resulting in a drug-induced devastation of the Chinese people that would last 150 years.

In this page-turning, dramatic and colorful history, The Opium Wars responds to past, biased Western accounts by representing the neglected Chinese version of the story and showing how the wars stand as one of the monumental clashes between the cultures of East and West.

"A fine popular account."-Publishers Weekly

"Their account of the causes, military campaigns and tragic effects of these wars is absorbing, frequently macabre and deeply unsettling."-Booklist ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars (As with many things), it was the Brits who got the international drug trade started
This is a very un-pretty cross-generational tale of what happens when two arrogant, bloated, insular, self-important empires clash. It helps that one was weak and the other strong.

As told here, it would be an understatement to say that there was not much love or respect lost between the UK and China during the two Opium wars. Each went out of its way to show disdain equal to its loathing and disrespect for the other. Despite mutual disdain, in the weirdest kind of symbiosis, the two countries depended on each other: The UK was drunk on Chinese silk, tea and porcelain; and China was as drunk on British Sterling as it was on its own sense of cultural superiority: This was true, that is, until the UK, through its vastly superior military and its enduring style of gunboat diplomacy, took over various chunks of China, including Hong Hong, and began to stuff opium down a generation of Chinese throats until a sizeable portion of the population was turned into heroin addicts.

For sure, it is a sordid history that made even these authors nervous and squeamish.

The book is about how that history came about (but it is not about what it all means?), and is told from the vantage point of the British diplomats and military people on the ground during the two major incursions into the Chinese mainland. And although this is good history (not great history), it is told with a certain amount of levity that in my view is unbefitting the gravity of the events in the situation, and unbefitting the importance to history that these events represent.What comes through to the reader is that the levity is like a nervous teenage giggle, expressed as a clever literary artifice for downgrading the savagery of the British incursions. In the end intended to deflect and diminish the overall meaning to history of these events.

Perhaps this would have been okay had the authors otherwise stepped back from the substance to give their own broader interpretations (directly), placing the totality of the meanings of these seminal events into some kind of historical context. But they clearly shunned taking the direct route. It seemed easier (and a lot less brave) to be content with making snide remarks and taking sidewise jabs at British arrogance, rather than to attack it frontally and directly.

I cannot argue that sprinkling the prose with interesting anecdotes did indeed liven up the prose a great deal. But as readers, we were first expecting good history, and then to be entertained: not the reverse.

However, knowing how history is written myself, one could argue that the authors had an obligation (at least equal to their desire to be interesting writers), to raised their heads from their manuscript and place these events into a larger context: that is to say, an obligation to interpret their own historical facts in light of the long-term impact these events have had on international relations, and especially given the dominant impact that the drug trade in particular has had on the world economy, including today within the U.S., Mexico, Columbia and Afghanistan, just to name the more obvious ones.

Clearly, it was the Brits who got the ball rolling, with the opium wars. At least one author (Toney Brown, in "Empower The People") has argued that this British approach was part of the leitmotif of British empire building. The authors here also alluded to it here (but again they did so ever so gently): First, the UK sends in the traders, then comes the bibles and missionaries, then the guns, and finally the dope: and Voila, an empire is built.

Who would have been more qualified to place the meaning of these events into historical context than these authors? And while the writing here is worth five stars, since they punted on the only important aspect of this history, its interpretations, I am giving it four stars: History too, at some level is just politics (and even war) by other means, isn't it?

2-0 out of 5 stars Politically correct history
An interesting discussion of two obscure wars fought by Victorian Britain.

While the book suffers from inadequate maps and a too-brief description of the events, its major fault is that the authors were unable to suppress their contempt for Britian in general and the British participants in particular.As a result, the book is replete with snide remarks about both.If you are already disgusted with Britian's foisting opium upon the Chinese, these remarks will not add to your opinion; if you are indifferent to the moral issue, you will remain indifferent.

As a by-the-way:in general, whenever an author is listed as "Joe Blow, Ph.D." you are entitled to doubt he has any other recommendation whatsoever; the first author is so listed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Getting To A Nub
Colourful history that tends to ask more questions than provide answers. Not as successful as Maurice Collins' 1946 classic "Foreign Mud".

Deeper research is still needed into the merchant companies, their composition and practices, that participated in the opium trade world-wide: a trade that made huge fortunes for individuals and Imperial nations in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Total Travesty
This book represents literally the worst scholarship I have ever seen.It makes no pretense of careful, thorough, or new research into its subject, but relies almost exclusively on two secondary sources--both in English, both still in print.Its dependence on Jack Beeching's book on the same subject is so thorough that it renders this book completely superfluous. I feel like my time and money were wasted on this when I could have skipped it entirely and headed directly to the source.

In addition to its total lack of new insight into the subject, the book seems not have benefitted from editorial oversight prior to publication.In one chapter, the same quotation is used in two different contexts, citing two different sources, with no attempt at explanation.Indeed, I was surprised to find several ungrammatical sentences scattered throughout, as if an early draft had somehow made it to the presses.If this was a term paper, it would have been handed back for a rewrite. There is no excuse for something of such poor quality sitting on bookstore shelves.

It is insulting to the reader that this book was ever allowed to the see the light of day.The authors ought to have their academic credentials revoked.

3-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and entertaining - but poorly edited - account
...of gunboat diplomacy in perhaps its most tragic and despicable grandeur. I enjoyed this book and learned a great deal about an intriguing but, by me, previously unexplored history of events. Anyone who is interested in modern Chinese history and affairs including East/West relations would, I think, greatly benefit from a study of the events covered in this book. The UK, which thanks to Wilberforce and others, had suppressed the African slave trade, squandered so much of its moral authority in trying to force a dysfunctional Imperial China into commercial relationships that would fund the UK addction to Chinese silk and tea. Virtually all the Brits could find to sell the Middle Kingdom was opium and thus the UK became a sanctimonious, hypocritical superpower insisting that China admit, on the one hand, missionaries to preach the Gospel and liberate Chinese souls and, on the other, opium merchants to ensnare Chinese addicts and their treasure. (As another reviewer noted, it is hard indeed to read of the events in this book and not be reminded of how modern addictions of cheap petroleum and drugs have had a deleterious effect on the US balance of payments, foreign policy, and world image.) However, whether this particular volume would, for the serious scholar, be the best book on this fascinating subject, I cannot say. Reading it, I was constantly struck by the conviction that this book would have benefitted enormously had it been placed in the respective hands of a well-informed critic and a good editor prior to being published. I enjoyed the authors' hip and humorous style -each chapter reminded me of an entertaining college lecture - but since I found the editing so wanting, I was less confident in how thorough, balanced, and reliable the authors actually were with the mass of information they presented. ... Read more

10. The Opium War Through Chinese Eyes
by Arthur Waley
 Paperback: 256 Pages (1958-06-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$14.14
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Asin: 0804706115
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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First published in 1958.
This volume translates and places in the appropriate historical context a number of private documents, such as diaries, autobiographies and confessions, which explain what the Opium War felt like on the Chinese side. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars history repeats itself
Are we going to win in Afghanistan? NO. Why?Read about the real reason. History repeats it self all the way back to the 17th Century.

5-0 out of 5 stars a balanced view
This book deserves five stars. Not because it is an exhaustive account of the first war but because it restores the balance. We have many English language texts on this subject but Arthur Waley, the distinguishedsinologist, has become, with this slim volume, an extremely good historian.Using Chinese sources, occasionally adding clarifications from elsewhere,he has achieved a delightful, wistful, plaintive, penetrative and endlesslyreadable slim volume that finally enables the non-Chinese language readerto enter into what really motivated officials and simple, if middle class,Chinese people in the opium war - the seemingly unbridgable gulf that tothis day divides East and West is washed away in this collection of notesfrom Commissioner Lin's diary and elsewhere, recording what it was like tobe there at the time, the perplexity of the citizen and revealing theChinese, through their thoughtful comments and opinions, their hopes andfears, as precisely like you and I. Read it. ... Read more

11. Commissioner Lin and the Opium War
by Hsin-pao Chang
Paperback: 319 Pages (1970-01-01)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$16.59
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Asin: 0393005216
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12. The Chinese Opium Wars
by Jack Beeching
Paperback: 352 Pages (1977-04-06)
list price: US$19.00 -- used & new: US$16.73
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Asin: 0156170949
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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An enlightening account of a notorious period in nineteenth-century imperialism, when an effort by the Chinese government to stamp out the country's profitable opium trade resulted in a series of conflicts known as the Opium Wars. Index; illustrations and map. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars A matter of trade balance and imperialism
When you read about the British Empire, there is not much about the Opium Wars. It is a curious event in the history of both countries, an event precipitated by the trade deficit of Britain, unable to pay for Chinese tea and with China not wanting to buy much from the Britons. Opium was the excuse to fix this issue and this resulted in two wars between the countries. Most people find this dispute a shameful part in the history of Britain ... I take it as it is -- that was the situation in those years and for sure China learned a lesson from all this. Trading was impose to the Chinese, it was a bloody war for them, looting is a word repeated frequently in this book, this is when Hong Kong was given to Britain and this was also an epoch of Chinese slaves trading to places like California and Peru. Chile, in the war with Peru in 1879, set free thousand of chinese slaves --- a point worth mentioning. So this book is atractive, you will find interesting facts and places, a book worth reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good retelling of a forgotten episode
This book chronicles one of the pivotal events of the 19th century; growth of the opium trade into China and the ensuing Opium wars between China and the West; the latter being primarily England.Starting with initial introductions in the late 1700s, the book concentrates on the events fro 1830s - 1860s when most of the action took place.This action consisted of diplomatic chess matches between Chinese and Western representatives, debates in England's Parliament about the opium trade, battles along the Chinese coast between English warships and local junks, the Taiping uprising in China, smuggling, bribery, backstabbing, and the ransacking of cities.

This book is full of many themes.First and foremost is the theme that an industrialized country cannot be matched in terms of raw power and ability to project that power around the world.China was the oldest of civilizations, and even though it was materially self-sufficient and had the world's largest population; it was no match for the English.Second, if the Chinese had dealt earnestly and on equal terms with the foreigners from the get-go; much of the hostility and hatred on the part of the British might have been mitigated later on.Third, drug addictions and trade can and do drive government policies.It drove the foreign policy of China and England for much of the 19th century.Fourth, money talks, not morals.One of the substories told in this book is the conversion of W.E. Gladstone, that career English Parliamentarian, from anti-opium to pro-opium.Last, insularity do not last long in a world of global trade.Try they might to stave of the English and their opium, but as long as China had tea, and locals on both sides were willing to trade, the Chinese government would eventually fail in its fight against opium and the outsiders.

This is a good book; the story it tells is important in understanding the history of Chinese - Western relations.Many important events apart from the opium trade are covered; such as the growth of the coolie trade, the transfer of Hong Kong from China to England, the growth of a Western presence on Formosa, and France's initial steps into Indo-China.There are several minuses of this book.First is the language of the text.The book was written in the 1970's, but the grammar and wording seem to reflect the time of the events themselves.Terms are used to describe battles, dialogue, and government intrigue that would baffle most lay readers.Second, for a book that involves a lot of geography, there is a paucity of maps.This considering that many of the Chinese places mentioned in the book go by different names now.But overall, a good history book and a great story.

4-0 out of 5 stars British Arrogance Explicated
The opium wars in China were a contest between the Chinese and the British which extended from 1840 to 1842, and were renewed in 1857.What these wars were about is a matter of contention.Jack Beeching, in this engaging and detailed book about the conflicts takes the position that they really were about what the name implies, smuggling opium into China in violation of its laws.An analogy today, would be if Columbia or Mexico were to invade the U.S. in order to open our markets to cocaine regardless of the fact that our laws prohibit its sale.Britain had the sea power and disciplined troops to do it and did.

British and American commentators at the time and since have strongly urged the view that in 1839 the real issue was not opium but extra-territoriality - or, sometimes, the Open Door in China.The argument is respectable, but it must be recognized that the British government laid down from the start a policy and a strategy which corresponded very closely to the declared needs of the big opium smugglers."

Beeching is up against some fairly strong "respectable" opposition.For example, Peter Ward Fay, a professor emeritus of history at the California Institute of Technology, wrote a book about the first opium war, evidently intending to satisfy what he and Beeching must both have realized at the time they wrote, both books being published in 1975: "There does not exist, for the West's first major intrusion into China, what the subject deserves and a reader is entitled to.The popular books on the war leave it a piece in the larger story of the `awakening dragon' or treat it decidedly hurriedly.The scholarly monographs approach it from one angle or another, rarely making much of an effort at narrative." (Fay, Peter Ward, The Opium War, 1840-1842, 1975, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1997, Paperback Edition. Evidently Fay did not think much of Beeching's narrative.Writing a preface in a new edition in 1997, he said: ... "Nothing has been added to the existing Notes on Sources, in part because in the years since it was drawn up, nothing that seriously added to or challenged the narrative has to my knowledge appeared.")Fay subscribes to the other "respectable" argument."Readers may discover that though I am quite aware what damage opium did, I do not believe that the Opium War was really about opium at all.It was about other particular things, shaped by circumstances as most history is; and it was, if you look for an overarching principle, about somehow getting the Chinese to open up.The desire is still very much with us today."

This view is echoed by John King Fairbank and Merle Goldman.They argue that the British expeditionary force led by the new paddle wheel steamer, Nemesis, was intended "...to secure privileges of general commercial and diplomatic intercourse on a Western basis of equality, and not especially to aid the expansion of the opium trade.The latter was expanding rapidly of its own accord and was only one point of friction in the general antagonism between the Chinese and British schemes of international relations."(Fairbank, John King, Goldman, Merle, China a New History, 2nd Edition, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2006. It should be noted that Fairbank's review of both Fay's and Beeching's books in The New York Times is cited on the cover of each.)The objective being in dispute even today, what happened in China?

The background of the conflict is complex, but the central aspect of it is generally agreed.In the eighteenth century the British had developed a substantial liking for tea.They obtained it from China for which they paid in silver.As the consumption grew the balance of payments with China tilted more and more in favor of the Chinese.For example, between 1710 and 1759 Britain bought 26,833,614 Pounds Sterling worth of tea and sold only 9,248,396 Pounds worth of goods to the Chinese.

That the Chinese did not admire British goods or want them is a frequently told story.Lord Macartney took a representative selection of British goods when he went to the Summer Palace in 1793 to establish an embassy. The Emperor took one look at them and said:"I set no value on strange objects and ingenious (sic.) and have no use for your country's manufactures."They languished in a warehouse only to be discovered in their crates at the end of the Boxer Rebellion in 1900.The British simply could not afford to continue buying tea and not selling anything.In India the British were growing opium (a white poppy which produces a milk from which opium is derived).While there was no market for it in 1782, the British thought they could purchase it cheaply in India where they were selling textiles and develop a market for it in China to offset their tea purchases. A couple of British firms did just that."By 1830, the opium trade there was probably the largest commerce of its time in any single commodity, anywhere in the world."But the Chinese banned the sale and tried to shut down the sellers and importers.While the emperor had issued an edict against its sale in 1799 and closed outlets by force in 1821-3, the trade persisted.The proximate cause of the war was the righteous action of the incorruptible Chinese Imperial Commissioner, Lin Zixu, in 1839, to arrest the Chinese opium dealers in Canton and to quarantine the foreign suppliers and seize their supplies of opium. The British responded by forcibly "opening the door," but the door was to the opium den.

The arrogance of the British at that time cannot be overstated. Disraeli, opposing war, challenged Palmerston, the Prime Minister to put the matter to a vote of the nation.Palmerston did just that.He dissolved Parliament and appealed to the electorate calling Commisioner Lin "an insolent barbarian." Evidently gunboat diplomacy was more popular with the people than the House of Commons, for his government was returned with a majority.It should be noted, that during this time opium was not prohibited in Britain and many there regarded it as less harmful than alcohol and, indeed, used it for medical purposes.

Beeching describes the ensuing war in detail, recognizing that it was not an even contest.The British had disciplined troops and modern weapons.In one instance, after the British had captured Ningpo, the Chinese massed a force and invaded the city.They broke through a city gate and attacked down the street toward the market.The British brought up one howitzer, and a platoon of infantry which barred the only side street of escape.It was a slaughter."No British were killed that night, but over 500 Chinese dead were counted.All units of the Chinese army which had been in action at Ningpo were permanently demoralized from the effect on their minds of grapeshot and musketry at close quarters.Henceforth, against any European army, they were defeated in advance."The treaty of Nanking ended the war and granted the British the right to resume trade on an expanded basis and other concessions.

The personalities involved on both sides seem to be caricatures of their time.The British Victorian statesmen and soldiers were conquerors and the Chinese mandarins were still the foundation of Chinese society.Both empires had cracks, and Beeching describes them. However, the Chinese, being isolated compared to the British, did not recognize their weeknesses.A new emperor in 1850, Hsien Feng, was not a match for the time.There were disasters, the Yellow River altered its course and the Taiping rebellion swept the country.Parts of the treaty of Nanking were not honored.The British wanted what the treaty provided and more. They concentrated their fleet on Chinese waters after the Crimean War was over.An excuse came when the Arrow, a British flag vessel, was boarded by Chinese marines who arrested the Chinese crew.The following clash, in 1859, was even more one sided than the previous one.After another treaty was negotiated but not honored by the Chinese, the British captured Beijing.They looted and destroyed the Summer Palace and opened up the interior of China to trade and missionary activity.

The Chinese Opium Wars has remained in print for the last thirty years because it is readable and its scope is extensive, from 1798 to 1864. Furthermore, Beeching dwells upon the personalities and turmoil in China along with British aggression.It may well be that the isolation the Chinese imposed upon themselves from the time of Zheng He would have dissipated over time without foreign intervention. However, Chinese social and governmental structure, which did not lend itself to change, was anachronistic.Gentry were selected to command troops without having received training other than in Confucian texts. Official promotions from ninth grade, and later eighth grade, were offered for cash starting in 1838.And the revolutions in China did not include the industrial one.

Beeching describes his modest intent in a postscript referring to his sources:
"Materials for the serious academic history of the Chinese Opium wars which has not yet been written are abundant.For instance there are over 2000 books and articles, many in Chinese or Russian, on the Taiping Rising alone.To append a scholarly apparatus of references to an essay in popular narrative history, compiled from less than a hundred sources, all secondary, and in only two languages, would be willfully misleading.Yet the narrative historian writing for the man in the street has valid standards of his own - corresponding to those of the responsible journalist.History is the resurrection of the dead; this book is only a sketch of a possible beginning."

Given that objective, Beeching successfully outlined the conflicts.

4-0 out of 5 stars the perils of free trade !!
This ia a very detailed and readable book about China and her forced entry into the world.

I would caution those who advocate free trade to read it carefully and do some serious thinking.Free trade is good but could be abused with no moral standards.When a stronger power forced a weak country to go for free trade using military might with no moral restrains, the outcome could be devastating with serious repercussions for ages.Hopefully such things will never happen again

5-0 out of 5 stars Why Condi Rice is cruising for a bruising with China
I actually read this book several years ago and purchased this copy to give to a friend to explain why China is going to be so difficult to deal with. China thinks we owe them big because of what happened 140-160 years ago. This is not ancient history to them -- it is the present and they are not going to be our friends after what happened then. ... Read more

13. Opium War, 1840-1842: Barbarians in the Celestial Empire in the Early Part of the Nineteenth Century and the War by Which They Forced Her Gates
by Peter Ward Fay
Paperback: 440 Pages (1998-03-16)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$16.50
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Asin: 0807847143
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This book tells the fascinating story of the war between England and China that delivered Hong Kong to the English, forced the imperial Chinese government to add four ports to Canton as places in which foreigners could live and trade, and rendered irreversible the process that for almost a century thereafter distinguished western relations with this quarter of the globe—the process that is loosely termed the "opening of China."

Originally published by UNC Press in 1975, Peter Ward Fay's study was the first to treat extensively the opium trade from the point of production in India to the point of consumption in China and the first to give both Protestant and Catholic missionaries their due; it remains the most comprehensive account of the first Opium War through western eyes. In a new preface, Fay reflects on the relationship between the events described in the book and Hong Kong's more recent history.Amazon.com Review
Until the 1830s, China was scarcely known to the outsideworld. When Europeans began to arrive in number in that decade,demanding of the Ching dynasty's rulers access to raw materials and toChina's huge domestic markets alike, the Chinese resisted, but, in theend, unsuccessfully. England in particular sought a market for theopium, a crown monopoly produced in India, and it waged a brief war topress its claim--a war that won it that market, the ownership of HongKong, and entry into cities like Shanghai and Guangdong. The war alsocontributed to the eventual collapse of Ching rule. Really a footnotein history, the Opium War, then, had major consequences that colorSino-Western relations even today. Peter Ward Fay tells the story inthis well-written, vigorous narrative. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars An epic and fascinating read
While there are regrettably few definitive one-volume accounts of the imperialist foreign rape of China (and anyone seeking a balanced and fair account is forced by this dearth of material to digest the information contained across vastly differing accounts from both the Chinese and foreign side), Fay's study is easily one of the most engaging. It is not a dry history, nor a polemic. It is beautiful, fresh and literary writing that reads like a novel, packed with ground-level observations, much gathered from the journals of the Western participants themselves. Fay also does a better job than many others in dissecting the psychologies behind the politics and clashing cultures. Fay also succeeds by never straying from the bottom line: the opium and opium trafficking.

5-0 out of 5 stars Authoritative andElegant
Nearly three decades after it was first published,Fay's book remains the best single volume on the Opium War, and one of the best books on China in the 19th century.It is easy to read, but is scholarly enough for the most fastidious. Unlike the other reviewerI had no particular difficulties with the timeline, although that can be a problem with any historical narrative.Be advised that this is a narrative history and can be read with joy by those who find social or economic histories tedious, but the background of the war is covered in particular detail as well. Fay is not a professional sinologist, and came to this book through his studies of the East India Company,but the book seems none the worse for his wide knowledge.It was recommended to me by some very distinguished historians of China, and their enthusiasm wasjustified. It is not a weighty tome, like those of Mary Wright or Vincent Shih on China in the 19th century, but it is authoritative on its subject, and like the best of Fairbank, it is great fun to read. Can one say better things about a book? If you are interested in the Opium War, Qin dynasty history, imperialism, or just like reading a good narrative about a war,please indulge yourself-- and read this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars This is one of the most frustrating books I've ever read.
Peter Fay's book on the Opium War is one of the most detailed studies of the period between 1838-1842 one can find at anything like the price, and would be a valuable resource except for one major flaw--there is notime-line given, and dates are provided, at most, with day and month, notyear.This may seem like an insignificant thing, but given thatcorrespondence took at least six months in one direction from China toEngland, and that the war was taking place with sailing ships up and downmost of China's coast, it quickly becomes impossible to tell, either fromthe footnotes or the text, what year precisely specific events happened. Since so few dates are given at all, it is impossible to get a good senseof the exact sequence of events, particularly as the fighting part of thewar heated up.When the book is next released, it should have a time line! ... Read more

14. Deadly Dreams: Opium and the Arrow War (1856-1860) in China (Cambridge Studies in Chinese History, Literature and Institutions)
by J. Y. Wong
Paperback: 576 Pages (2002-11-07)
list price: US$70.00 -- used & new: US$64.99
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Asin: 0521526191
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Many have accepted that the Arrow War (1856-60) was caused by an insult to the British flag belonging to the pirate boat Arrow.Dr. Wong argues that Britain's reliance on the opium trade with China played a far greater role in pushing the diplomatic conflict into war.The war was not a simple diplomatic squabble: it involved vital economic interests in British India, which had to be protected at all costs.Dr. Wong offers penetrating insights into theories of imperialism and how they might be reassessed. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars A sorry affair
Excellent book on the Arrow War and its economic ramifications on the British opium trade that the war tried to protect.Extensive notes and bibliography.One of the best books on Western imperialism in 19th-century Asia. ... Read more

15. The Inner Opium War (Harvard East Asian Monographs)
by James Polachek
 Hardcover: 420 Pages (1991-12-01)
list price: US$34.50 -- used & new: US$75.00
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Asin: 0674454464
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Why did defeat in the Opium War not lead Ch'ing China to a more realistic appreciation of Western might and Chinese weakness? James Polachek's revisionist analysis exposes the behind-the-scenes political struggles that not only shaped foreign-policy decisions in the 1830s and 1840s but have continued to affect the history of Chinese nationalism in modern times.

Polachek looks closely at the networks of literati and officials, self-consciously reminiscent of the late Ming era that sought and gained the ear of the emperor. Challenging the conventional view that Lin Tse-hsu and his supporters were selfless patriots who acted in China's best interests, Polachek agrues that, for reasons having more to do with their own domestic political agenda, these men advocated a futile policy of militant resistance to the West. Linking political intrigue, scholarly debates, and foreign affairs, local notables in Canton and literati lobbyists in Perking this book sets the Opium War for the first times in its "inner," domestic political context.

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Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars From the Chinese Literati point of view
The first reviewer 'Houghton@i-wave.net' has given a very good general review on the book.Polachek's research was extensive and he looked at sources, especially those in Chinese, which very few Westerners havepreviously commented on. However, it would appear that the emphasis on theinfluence of the Literati groups may be over the top in certain areas.There were certainly different groups in the Qing Court, but were theyreally so significant as to be the most important factors in policiesregarding the Opium War? Chinese Emperors were well known for theirabsolute power in policy decisions over their court oficials. And how about'individual believes' rather than 'group believes'.

4-0 out of 5 stars new look at Chinese Government deliberations on opium
To those who have been tutored to know the causes of the opium war in terms of spreading addiction amongst the army in Guangzhou, outflow of silver from the Chinese economy and deep cultural differences concerning the status of traders and the value of trade, Mr Polachek introduces an insightful review of the contemporary Chinese documents and adduces the role played by those literary Han Chinese officials who revered the old poetry and traditional culture and whose deep community made them a substantial force in the decision-making process at the Court in Peking. Here we see a group of like-minded patriots, including Commissioner Lin, working to influence the course of Chinese history by unitedly pushing, generally against Manchu influence, for a proscription of the trade. This book explains most of the extraordinary flip-flops that appeared to characterise government policy in the 1830's and hints at a continuation throughout the period of treaty ports, extra-territoriality and the rest. A fascinating read after a slow start. ... Read more

16. Foreign Mud: Being an Account of the Opium Imbroglio at Canton in the 1830's and the Anglo-Chinese War That Followed (New Directions Classics,)
by Maurice Collis
Paperback: 318 Pages (2002-06)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$8.34
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Asin: 0811215067
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Another enduring work by the brilliant historian Maurice Collis. First published in 1946 and long out of print, Foreign Mud is a marvelous historical reconstruction of the events surrounding the illegal trade of opium in Canton during the 1830s and the Opium Wars between Britain and China that followed. Based largely on voluminous documents written by British doctors, missionaries, merchants, and government officials, Collis's tale, far from being a dry assemblage of dates and facts, is a fascinating example of twentieth-century Orientalist literature: "...you must picture the broad river puckered with little waves, the green sweep of the rice, on the horizon blue hills; you must conjure the many sorts of passing craft, the Mandarin house-boats, dainty and lacquered, the streamers and lanterns of passenger boats, the high tilted junks with demon-painted sterns; and you must plunge these images into a light more intense than we know in these countries, into a warmer wind and an air, purer and more scented than we can sniff except in dreams." Collis describes, in all its complexities, a moment in time when China is forced, after more than two thousand years of self-contained sufficiency, to open its doors to the culture, commerce, and evangelization of the West—the casus belli, foreign mud: the opium the British grew and shipped from India. Interspersed with various maps, plans, and illustrations, Foreign Mud is a historical narrative the reader will find more entertaining than any Spielberg film. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars a teen could read it
I'd wanted to learn about the history of the British opium affair in China for a long time. Don't know if this could be the best account of events, but it could be. In spite of the copyright date of 1946, it is extremely easy to read and moves right along, concisely relating the situation and opinions in Britain (on both sides of the fence) re: the drug trade. I was surprised to learn they were actually ashamed of it in one way. But as we all know, they weren't ashamed enough to let it get in the way of keeping India afloat for them. One thing: if you're looking for extended combat accounts of the war, this isn't it. The actual "war" is sort of a postscript in the book, and that's all it needs to be in this writing. I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Birth of Hong Kong from 1946
In 1946 the British had once more triumphed against the Germans and the Japanese.Collis here dissects the highlights that led to the "Opium wars", actually skirmishes between Britain and China, where Imperial Britain gained ground over the Celestial Kingdom that had for so long treated them as Barbarians from which they gained some pecuniary advantage.

The Chinese remained conservative in their treatment of the British since the 18th century and had not grasped that by the mid 19th century Britain was a power to be reckoned with.By then, British had taken Opium trading with China to huge heights but her merchants were still greedy for yet more market space and getting shy of selling a common drug to China to enable them to make a profit.

This book is proud and British in flavour, comparing China to some extent with Japan that maintained a similar hubris as the Chinese.It is I think pretty objective and really well written, very gripping and revealing in its details.

The author has structured the work rather like a fantastic story in several acts.There are good maps and enough illustrations.It whets your appetite for more .... and I found this after reading Chris Patten's East and West and Tai Pan.This book was probably a source for Clavell's Tai Pan, Jardine being one of the original Tai Pan's of Hong Kong.

The Opium Wars directly lead to the birth of Hong Kong and was a sign of things going wrong for Imperial China.The British and French shamelessly muscled in on their advantage subsequent to the events of the 1840s.The Chinese always maintained their cool and were incapable of fighting back and as a land power, had to give way to the naval blandishments of the then western powers.

A really wonderful book if you're English, detailing aristocratic China and the elements of British Political hegemony and how they handled the unravelling of a staus quoe in China from which the crown had profiteered without candidly admitting it was from opium.

The author does not defent opium trading but is clear it was not a good thing.It was a game in which as is clear, Chinese officialdom was involved on a large scale.

A fascinating glimpse of the Chinese who normally seem to reveal so little of themselves, their values or their cultures to some of us barbarians.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great History
Foreign Mud -- the phrase means "opium" in Chinese -- is a history of the commercial and diplomatic events that lead to the Anglo/Chinese Opium War of 1839-1842, when England attacked China to open up the latter to British trade.Author Collis tells the story with dry humor and copious quotes from contemporary Chinese and British documents, which document the cynicism and incomprehension reigning on both sides of the conflict.According to the back cover, historian A.J. P. Taylor called Foreign Mud:"A wholly admirable book, admirable as a work of history and admirable as a literary entertainment."For once the blurbs are right. ... Read more

17. Through the Looking Glass: China's Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao
by Paul French
Hardcover: 240 Pages (2009-10-15)
list price: US$39.50 -- used & new: US$32.15
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Asin: 9622099823
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The convulsive history of foreign journalists in China starts with the newspapers printed in the European Factories of Canton in the 1820s and ends with the Communist revolution in 1949. It also starts with a duel between two editors over the future of China and ends with a fistfight in Shanghai over the revolution.

The men and women of the foreign press in China experienced the country's history and development; its convulsions and upheavals; revolutions and wars. They had front row seats at every major twist and turn in China's fortunes. They reported on the Opium Wars and the Taiping Rebellion; saw the Summer Palace burn; endured the Boxer Rebellion; witnessed the collapse of the Qing Dynasty; and the birth of a Nationalist China and its struggle for survival against rampant warlordism. They followed the rise of the Communists, total war and then revolution. When the Unequal Treaties were signed, the foreign press corps was there; when foreign troops occupied and looted Beijing in 1900 they were present too; they saw the Republic born in 1911 and a young, increasingly politically strident China assert itself on May Fourth 1919. Foreign journalists stood in the streets witnessing the blood letting of the First Shanghai War in 1932 and then were blown of their feet by the convulsions of the Second Shanghai War in 1937. They tracked Japanese aggression from the annexation of Manchuria, the bombing of Shanghai and the Rape of Nanjing through to the assault on the Nationalist wartime capital of Chongqing as they cowered in the same bomb shelters as everybody else. They witnessed the fratricidal Civil War, the flight of Chiang Kai-shek to Taiwan and the early days of the People's Republic. The old China press corps were the witnesses and the primary interpreters to millions around the world of the history of modern China and they were themselves a cast of fascinating characters.

Like journalists everywhere they took sides, they brought their own assumptions and prejudices to China along with their hopes, dreams and fears too. They weren't infallible; they got the story completely wrong as often as they got it partially right. A fair few were drunks, philanderers and frauds; more than one was a spy - they changed sides, they lost their impartiality, they displayed bias and a few were downright scoundrels and liars. But most did their job ably and professionally, some passionately and a select few with rare flair and touches of genius. ... Read more

18. From Opium War to Liberation (Guo ji you ren cong shu) (Mandarin Chinese Edition)
by Israel Epstein
 Paperback: 314 Pages (1997-06)
-- used & new: US$17.95
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Asin: 7507208850
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"4th edition revised and enlarged." 303 pp. Same ISBN as British HC, 7507208850 ... Read more

19. House of Deception: The CIA's Secret Opium War & Assassination of JFK
by Sheldon Webster
Paperback: 428 Pages (2006-12-07)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$18.32
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Asin: 1425966160
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Characters from Sheldon Webster's House of Sugar, including the intrepid Special Forces lieutenant, Tex Morris, and the sexy BBC correspondent, Holly Woodson, return in the House of Deception to reveal the truth of the CIA's Secret Opium War and assassination of President John Kennedy. The novel pays tribute to the thousands of patriotic Americans, while exposing the rogue politicians and public officials, some real, some fictional, who create the House of Deception. One of them is CIA officer Axial Hanson, a Skull & Bonesman who formed the deadly Mafia conspiracy and uses his ambitious but corruptible young associate, Walter Elliot III, as his henchman. The House of Deception unveils the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations' blatant manipulation of the democratic process to declare war in order to achieve political agendas. The book makes public Washington's use of the Golden Triangle's "White Gold" to fund the Secret War and addict thousands of GIs to opium. This is the story of two lives destroyed by the House of Deception - Lee Oswald, the young Marine fingered by the Warren Commission as the President's assassin, and New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, whose investigation of JFK's murder failed to prove Oswald innocent. In the Vietnam War, America paid the ultimate price with 58,000 lives, a small fraction of the 7 million Southeast Asians who died from the unconscionable abuses of the House of Deception. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars decent book on the JFK assassination+
As the leading civilian authority on the U.S. Secret Service (and President Kennedy's interaction with the agency), I was much interested in this book by Sheldon Webster. This work is well written and out together and, in conjunction with Peter Dale Scott's fine books on the case, makes a good---but not great---addition to the library. I recommend this book to the experienced researcher. Vince Palamara ... Read more

20. Chinese Account Of The Opium War
by Edward H. Parker
Paperback: 88 Pages (2007-06-25)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$9.88
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Asin: 0548307172
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This scarce antiquarian book is included in our special Legacy Reprint Series. In the interest of creating a more extensive selection of rare historical book reprints, we have chosen to reproduce this title even though it may possibly have occasional imperfections such as missing and blurred pages, missing text, poor pictures, markings, dark backgrounds and other reproduction issues beyond our control. Because this work is culturally important, we have made it available as a part of our commitment to protecting, preserving and promoting the world's literature. ... Read more

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