The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams and the Making of China

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Pan Macmillan, Sep 2, 2011 - History - 352 pages
2 Reviews

‘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 China

User 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

Review: The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams and the Making of Modern China

User Review  - Chuck - Goodreads

The Opium Wars by Julia Lovell is about the history of the West and China in the mid-Ninteenth Century. In particular it covers the two Opium Wars, the lead up to them, and the history afterwards ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Julia Lovell teaches modern Chinese history at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is the author of The Great Wall: China Against the World and The Politics of Cultural Capital: China’s Quest for a Nobel Prize in Literature and writes on China for the Guardian, Independent and The Times Literary Supplement. Her many translations of modern Chinese fiction include, most recently, Lu Xun’s The Real Story of Ah-Q, and Other Tales of China.

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