Deadly Dreams: Opium and the Arrow War (1856-1860) in China

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"..this is an excellent account of the politics of imperialism in Britain." Choice

"It is difficult to do justice to a book as well-informed, provocative and rewarding as John Wong's Deadly Dream. No student of nineteenth-century history can afford to ignore this book." Andrew Lambert, The Northern Mariner

"From years of patient inquiry and research in the archives and other print sources of half a dozen countries besides China, buttressed by bibliographical material of staggering extent, Wong has constructed an edifice that no one interested in Western relations with China between 1840 and 1860 can afford to bypass." Peter Ward Fay, American Historical Review

"This is an important book: it is essential reading for scholars interested in the roots of British imperialism, Anglo-Chinese relations, and the origins of world wars." The International History Review

"Everyone who wants to understand the connection between internal politics, diplomacy, strategy and economics should read this book." Military Review

"Wong's book is a many-faceted meditation on imperialism...Wong has laid many questions to rest with this volume, and has indeed, peeled the onion, layer by layer, to reveal a number of salient, if unpalatable facts about British action and policies in China in the mid-nineteenth century...Wong's book has without a doubt, now become the standard work on the Arrow was and will certainly become mandatory reading for students of Chinese and British imperial history." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Part I. The Confusion of Imperialism: 1. An attempt to peel the onion of confusion; Part II. The Pretext for Imperialism: 2. An international incident: 'that wretched question of the Arrow'; Part III. The Personalities of Imperialism: 3. Harry Parkes: 'if you would read a little international law.' - Punch; 4. Sir John Bowring: possessed by a monomania; 5. Commissioner Yeh: a 'monster'?; 6. Rule, Britannia and vox populi, vox Dei; Part IV. The Rhetoric of Imperialism: 7. Marx, Punch, and a political press: the debate among the British newspapers; 8. The Arrow incident and international law: the debate in the House of Lords; 9. Triumph of the liberal conscience: the debate in the House of Commons; 10. 'Johnny is on his knees': the 'Chinese Election'; Part V. The Mechanics of Imperialism: 11. Behind the scenes: the diplomacy of imperialism; 12. Behind the scenes: the politics of imperialism; 13. In the wings: the lobbies of imperialism; Part VI. The Economics of Imperialism: 14. Anglo-Chinese trade: the Chinese should buy more; 15. China's maritime trade: the Chinese could buy more; 16. The problem of India: the Chinese should and could buy more; 17. The balance sheet: the Chinese are now buying more; Part VII. The Dynamics of Imperialism: 18. Conclusion.

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