For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World's Favorite Drink and Changed History

For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World's Favorite Drink and Changed History

3.8 25
by Sarah Rose
     
 

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A dramatic historical narrative of the man who stole the secret of tea from China

In 1848, the British East India Company, having lost its monopoly on the tea trade, engaged Robert Fortune, a Scottish gardener, botanist, and plant hunter, to make a clandestine trip into the interior of China—territory forbidden to foreigners—to steal the

Overview

A dramatic historical narrative of the man who stole the secret of tea from China

In 1848, the British East India Company, having lost its monopoly on the tea trade, engaged Robert Fortune, a Scottish gardener, botanist, and plant hunter, to make a clandestine trip into the interior of China—territory forbidden to foreigners—to steal the closely guarded secrets of tea horticulture and manufacturing. For All the Tea in China is the remarkable account of Fortune's journeys into China—a thrilling narrative that combines history, geography, botany, natural science, and old-fashioned adventure.

Disguised in Mandarin robes, Fortune ventured deep into the country, confronting pirates, hostile climate, and his own untrustworthy men as he made his way to the epicenter of tea production, the remote Wu Yi Shan hills. One of the most daring acts of corporate espionage in history, Fortune's pursuit of China's ancient secret makes for a classic nineteenth-century adventure tale, one in which the fate of empires hinges on the feats of one extraordinary man.

Editorial Reviews

Adrian Higgins
With her probing inquiry and engaging prose, Sarah Rose paints a fresh and vivid account of life in rural 19th-century China and Fortune's fateful journey into it…if ever there was a book to read in the company of a nice cuppa, this is it.
—The Washington Post
From the Publisher
"With her probing inquiry and engaging prose, Sarah Rose paints a fresh and vivid account of life in rural 19th-century China and Fortune's fateful journey into it." —The Washington Post

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101190012
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/18/2010
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
263,566
File size:
485 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"With her probing inquiry and engaging prose, Sarah Rose paints a fresh and vivid account of life in rural 19th-century China and Fortune's fateful journey into it." —-The Washington Post

Meet the Author

Sarah Rose has worked as a journalist in Hong Kong, Miami, and New York, and now covers food and travel for such magazines as Men's Journal, Bon Appetit, and Brides.

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For All the Tea in China 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
CineastesBookshelf More than 1 year ago
As a self-proclaimed theic (one who is addicted to tea), I am thrilled someone, in modern times, has tackled this vast, interwoven tale of a name that changed so much but it little remembered. Tea is like wine. Growing seasons, climates, picking times, drying, storing and shipping all affect the taste. And there are plenty who prefer a potent earl grey to a warm green tea. And it was plant-hunter and spy Robert Fortune who discovered (for the Western world) that these two very different teas grew from the same plant. Author Sarah Rose delves into the seductive past and retrieves the best, most aromatic leaves for our enjoyment. The fortuitously-named Robert Fortune took on a great adventure in the name of tea and Queen. The East India Company was losing money, so they decided to steal the secrets of Chinese tea and transplant them to India, where they still had power. They tapped Fortune to be their spy. This debut book by Sarah Rose, follows Fortune on his journey. With stories gleaned from Fortune's meticulous diaries and journals, Rose maintains an even keel between historical background and plant-hunting espionage. Her descriptions of inland China, with terraced hillsides, fresh peaches, and blooming forsythia are intoxicating. Wandering along the river, filling glass Wardian cases with exotic plants sounds divine. This idyllic setting is counterbalanced by the danger of impersonating a Mandarin Chinese and avoiding suspicion. Indeed, there are many intricate details of Chinese society that this tale of tea serves to enlighten. While Fortune was a hero to the West, he was clearly an enemy to China and the East. Through Rose's telling of Fortune's exploits, we see the emotional complications of respect for and exploitation of another culture. It is clear that not only Fortune himself benefiting from his travels, but the economy of the strongest Empire in the world. I spent a summer as a gardener at the Canterbury Shaker Village and one of my jobs was to harvest and dry the mint for their four mint tea. It was a quiet, peaceful job, if not an easy one, but it is still the best job I've ever had. Particularly in an age when we are once again learning to respect the value of a growing our own gardens, in some small way, I'd like to think I was following in Robert Fortune's steps. The gardening part; not the traveling and spying part. http://cineastesbookshelf.blogspot.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author delivers a frank visit to England, China, and India in the 19th century that enables the reader to vividly learn about tea and its cultural impact.
BillR More than 1 year ago
This topic is the kind of thing you usually find in the remainders pile. Not this book. It is a page turner. Well researched and well written. A good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Matthew51417 More than 1 year ago
Sarah Rose’s book is truly adventurous and interesting to me because it made me realize that some things that seem so simple to handle, can be so difficult. Readers that like somewhat crucial and yet real, well, I am assuming that most of the book is what really happened in the eighteen hundreds. I liked the book; because it was informative and I learned more about tea thyan I thought I would have to. I liked the part when Robert Fortune was offering the Wang family if he could basically help them fix up their home while he was staying there. I think that the reading level would be at a high school and possibly college ages. But arguing with a website that I found, I read that they put minimum and maximum ages to read the book was seventeen to eighteen years of age. And the grade levels being in junior year to college freshmen. I am only a high school freshmen, I guess I can say that this book was one I liked even though some places were harder for me to understand. And the book came alive in my mind, and I could feel like I was traveling to amazing places that someday I would love to go visit today. Sarah Rose made this only a few years ago in 2010 in the United States, and a year earlier in England, and she was born in 1977, so she was thirty three years of age, and just a bit out of college maybe. So that can prove that her book was sort of meant for older people, but I think I challenged myself learning about China and England. The things that stood out from this was how much detail she put into writing her book, and the creativity of what those regions would have been like in the cultures, and including the important people that took part in the storyline. I would surely recommend this book to fellow readers that may have a caffeine and tea addiction, or college kids that love history. For example I might recommend this book to my sister-in-law and one of my dear friends, they both like reading almost anything in their spare time, and possibly to read drink some tea and biscuits. That last part was just a little British like humor! I highly think that this is a really good book for another high schooler that is seeking for a book to read for another report or just for fun. Here is a piece of advice for people of my age that absolutely hate reading, do not judge a book by its cover and take in a few words into your head and then immediately stop reading any book. In the long run, you can end up not knowing how the rest of the story is like, and what you will do with the book in the future. And also that even I get a quick look at a book someone recommends to me, and I begin to hate it. But actually I do love reading, so I would not be so hard on reading “For All the Tea in China”.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ZEST4BOOKS More than 1 year ago
A wonderful history of tea and how it is now grown in other parts of the world is interesting enough but the the history of the journey outside the original soil in which it was grown and how this was accomplished is written in such a fascinating way as to keep the pages turning. The descriptions of Robert Fortune on these adventures and the process of how they invented ways to transport the tea and other plants is extremely interesting..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Youll never look at tea the same way again!
Andrew-j-Ferrell More than 1 year ago
never knew so much about the history of one large commodity... Tea
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