The Opium War

The Opium War

Drugs, Dreams and the Making of China

Book - 2014
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The conflict turned out to be rich in tragicomedy: in bureaucratic fumblings, military missteps, political opportunism and collaboration. Yet over the past 170 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 causes and consequences and, through this larger narrative, interweaves the curious stories of opium's promoters and attackers. The Opium War is both the story of China's first conflict with the West and an analysis of the country's contemporary self-image. It explores how China's national myths mold its interactions with the outside world, how public memory is spun to serve the present; and how delusion and prejudice have bedeviled its relationship with the modern West.
Publisher: New York, NY :, The Overlook Press,, 2014
ISBN: 9781468308952
Branch Call Number: 951.033
Characteristics: xxiv, 456 pages :,illustrations (some color) ;,24 cm


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Dec 06, 2018

"The fact remains that into the 1850s and beyond, opium sales in China (produced under British monopoly in India) underwrote much of the British empire."
British historian and author Julia Lovell's history of the Opium War, fought between the Qing dynasty of China and the British empire between 1839-1842, sheds light on a shameful chapter in history. England, as was its wont, was meddling in Chinese economic and political affairs and was flooding the country with Indian opium. When the Chinese attempted to curb the imports, war broke out and although China significantly outnumbered the British, the country lacked the unity and firepower of the Brits, resulting in the humiliating Treaty of Nanjing (or Nanking), which led to British control of Hong Kong and the opening of Chinese ports and markets. With detail and depth, Lovell brings the complicated history and large cast of characters to life and shows the costs of imperialism and the roots of Chinese hostility to the West. Also, see the book "The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China."


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