Author: Stephen R. Platt
As China reclaims its position as a world power, Imperial Twilight looks back to tell the story of the country's last age of ascendance and how it came to an end in the nineteenth-century Opium War. "This thoroughly researched and delightful work is essential for anyone interested in Chinese or British imperial history." --Library Journal (Starred Review) When Britain launched its first war on China in 1839, pushed into hostilities by profiteering drug merchants and free-trade interests, it sealed the fate of what had long been seen as the most prosperous and powerful empire in Asia, if not the world. But internal problems of corruption, popular unrest, and dwindling finances had weakened China far more than was commonly understood, and the war would help set in motion the eventual fall of the Qing dynasty--which, in turn, would lead to the rise of nationalism and communism in the twentieth century. As one of the most potent turning points in the country's modern history, the Opium War has since come to stand for everything that today's China seeks to put behind it. In this dramatic, epic story, award-winning historian Stephen Platt sheds new light on the early attempts by Western traders and missionaries to "open" China--traveling mostly in secret beyond Canton, the single port where they were allowed--even as China's imperial rulers were struggling to manage their country's decline and Confucian scholars grappled with how to use foreign trade to China's advantage. The book paints an enduring portrait of an immensely profitable--and mostly peaceful--meeting of civilizations at Canton over the long term that was destined to be shattered by one of the most shockingly unjust wars in the annals of imperial history. Brimming with a fascinating cast of British, Chinese, and American individuals, this riveting narrative of relations between China and the West has important implications for today's uncertain and ever-changing political climate.
Author: Stephen R. Platt
The definitive history of the Opium War--a vivid narrative of the earliest Western efforts to open China to trade and the resulting war that ensured the decline of imperial China. When Britain declared war on China in 1839, it sealed the fate of what had been, for centuries, the wealthiest and most powerful empire in the world. But local corruption, popular uprisings, and dwindling finances had left the country much weaker than was commonly understood and the war set in motion the fall of the Qing dynasty which, in turn, would lead to the rise of nationalism and communism in the twentieth century. Imperial Twilight is the dramatic, epic story of the decades leading up to the war. Award-winning historian Stephen Platt recounts the first efforts by the British government to "open" China to trade--Western missionaries and traders venturing to the still mysterious empire while the Chinese emperor and officials struggled to manage their country's decline--and makes clear how the profits from opium ultimately lead to the war. Given the growing uncertainty in current relations between China and the West, the riveting history recounted in Imperial Twilight has important implications for the world today.
Author: Stephen R. Platt
Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Incorporated
Traces the revolution led by a failed civil servant, citing the roles played by the United States and Britain as well as the contributions of such figures as military strategist Zeng Guofan and Taiping leader Hong Rengan.
Author: W. Travis Hanes III, Frank Sanello
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.
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
Author: Stephen R. Platt
Publisher: Harvard University Press
From the Taiping Rebellion to the Chinese Communist movement, no province in China gave rise to as many reformers, military officers, and revolutionaries as did Hunan. Platt offers the first comprehensive study of why this province wielded such disproportionate influence. By putting provincial Hunan at the center of this narrative, Platt uncovers an unexpected and surprising story of modern China that sheds light on the current resurgence of regionalism in the country.
Author: Edward Harper Parker, Yuan Wei
The Opium Wars between China and the British Empire, and by extension the East India Trade Company, are often told from the English-speaking Western perspective. E.H. Parker presents a history of the conflict told from the Chinese point of view.?
Author: David J. Silbey
Publisher: Hill and Wang
The year is 1900, and Western empires—both old and new—are locked in regional entanglements across the globe. The British are losing a bitter war against the Boers while the German kaiser is busy building a vast new navy. The United States is struggling to put down an insurgency in the South Pacific while the upstart imperialist Japan begins to make clear to neighboring Russia its territorial ambition. In China, a perennial pawn in the Great Game, a mysterious group of superstitious peasants is launching attacks on the Western powers they fear are corrupting their country. These ordinary Chinese—called Boxers by the West because of their martial arts showmanship—rise up, seemingly out of nowhere. Foreshadowing the insurgencies of the more recent past, they lack a centralized leadership and instead tap into latent nationalism and deep economic frustration to build their army. Their battle cry: "Support the Qing, exterminate the foreigners." Many scholars brush off the Boxers as an ill-conceived and easily defeated revolt, but the military historian David J. Silbey shows just how close they came to beating back the combined might of all the imperial powers. Drawing on the diaries and letters of allied soldiers and diplomats, Silbey paints a vivid portrait of the short-lived war. Even though their cause ended just as quickly as it began, the bravery and patriotism of the Boxers would inspire Chinese nationalists—including a young Mao Zedong—for decades to come.
Author: Julio Capó Jr.
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Poised on the edge of the United States and at the center of a wider Caribbean world, today's Miami is marketed as an international tourist hub that embraces gender and sexual difference. As Julio Capo Jr. shows in this fascinating history, Miami's transnational connections reveal that the city has been a queer borderland for over a century. In chronicling Miami's queer past from its 1896 founding through 1940, Capo shows the multifaceted ways gender and sexual renegades made the city their own. Drawing from a multilingual archive, Capo unearths the forgotten history of "fairyland," a marketing term crafted by boosters that held multiple meanings for different groups of people. In viewing Miami as a contested colonial space, he turns our attention to migrants and immigrants, tourism, and trade to and from the Caribbean--particularly the Bahamas, Cuba, and Haiti--to expand the geographic and methodological parameters of urban and queer history. Recovering the world of Miami's old saloons, brothels, immigration checkpoints, borders, nightclubs, bars, and cruising sites, Capo makes clear how critical gender and sexual transgression is to understanding the city and the broader region in all its fullness.
Author: Mao Haijian
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
The Opium War of 1839-43, the first military conflict to take place between China and the West, is a subject of enduring interest. Mao Haijian, one of the most distinguished and well-known historians working in China, presents the culmination of more than ten years of research in a revisionist reading of the conflict and its main Chinese protagonists. Mao examines the Qing participants in terms of the moral standards and intellectual norms of their own time, demonstrating that actions which have struck later observers as ridiculous can be understood as reasonable within these individuals' own context. This English-language translation of Mao's work offers a comprehensive response to the question of why the Qing Empire was so badly defeated by the British in the first Opium War - an answer that is distinctive and original within both Chinese and Western historiography, and supported by a wealth of hitherto unknown detail.
Author: Odd Arne Westad
Publisher: Basic Books
As the twenty-first century dawns, China stands at a crossroads. The largest and most populous country on earth and currently the world's second biggest economy, China has recently reclaimed its historic place at the center of global affairs after decades of internal chaos and disastrous foreign relations. But even as China tentatively reengages with the outside world, the contradictions of its development risks pushing it back into an era of insularity and instability—a regression that, as China's recent history shows, would have serious implications for all other nations. In Restless Empire, award-winning historian Odd Arne Westad traces China's complex foreign affairs over the past 250 years, identifying the forces that will determine the country's path in the decades to come. Since the height of the Qing Empire in the eighteenth century, China's interactions—and confrontations—with foreign powers have caused its worldview to fluctuate wildly between extremes of dominance and subjugation, emulation and defiance. From the invasion of Burma in the 1760s to the Boxer Rebellion in the early 20th century to the 2001 standoff over a downed U.S. spy plane, many of these encounters have left Chinese with a lingering sense of humiliation and resentment, and inflamed their notions of justice, hierarchy, and Chinese centrality in world affairs. Recently, China's rising influence on the world stage has shown what the country stands to gain from international cooperation and openness. But as Westad shows, the nation's success will ultimately hinge on its ability to engage with potential international partners while simultaneously safeguarding its own strength and stability. An in-depth study by one of our most respected authorities on international relations and contemporary East Asian history, Restless Empire is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the recent past and probable future of this dynamic and complex nation.
Author: Julia Lovell
Publisher: Overlook Books
Details the 1839 Opium War and the red tape, incompetence, and political cronyism that surrounded China's first conflict with the West and how these events fueled the foundation for modern Chinese nationalism.
Author: Carl Trocki
Drug epidemics are clearly not just a peculiar feature of modern life; the opium trade in the nineteenth century tells us a great deal about Asian herion traffic today. In an age when we are increasingly aware of large scale drug use, this book takes a long look at the history of our relationship with mind-altering substances. Engagingly written, with lay readers as much as specialists in mind, this book will be fascinating reading for historians, social scientists, as well as those involved in Asian studies, or economic history.
Author: Julia Lovell
Publisher: MacMillan Hardback Omes
"'On the outside, [the foreigners] seem intractable, but inside they are cowardly... Although there have been a few ups-and-downs, the situation as a whole is under control.' In October 1839, a few months after the Chinese Imperial Commissioner, Lin Zexu, dispatched these confident words to his emperor, a Cabinet meeting in Windsor voted to fight Britain's first Opium War (1839-42) with China. The conflict turned out to be rich in tragicomedy: in 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 myth of modern Chinese nationalism: the start of China's heroic struggle against a Western conspiracy to destroy the country with opium and gunboat diplomacy. Beginning with the dramas of the war itself, Julia Lovell explores its background, causes and consequences... The Opium War is both the story of modern China--starting from this first conflict with the West--and an analysis of the country's contemporary self-image. It 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 on both sides have bedevilled its relationship with the modern West."--book jacket.