The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams and the Making of China
‘A gripping read as well as an important one.’ Rana Mitter, Guardian
In October 1839, Britain entered the first Opium War with China. Its brutality notwithstanding, the conflict was also threaded with tragicomedy: with Victorian hypocrisy, bureaucratic fumblings, military missteps, political opportunism and collaboration. Yet over the past hundred and seventy years, this strange tale of misunderstanding, incompetence and compromise has become the founding episode of modern Chinese nationalism.
Starting from this first conflict, The Opium War explores how China’s national myths mould its interactions with the outside world, how public memory is spun to serve the present, and how delusion and prejudice have bedevilled its relationship with the modern West.
‘Lively, erudite and meticulously researched’ Literary Review
‘An important reminder of how the memory of the Opium War continues to cast a dark shadow.’ Sunday Times
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The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams, and the Making of Modern ChinaUser Review - Joshua Wallace - Book Verdict
In the early 19th century, the opium trade prospered throughout China's port cities. The economic and social ills caused by this drug motivated then-emperor Daoguang to send Commissioner Lin Zexu to ... Read full review