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 ...
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
Hanes (Imperial Diplomacy in the Era of Decolonization) and film author and former Los Angeles Daily News critic Sanello have teamed up to produce this fine popular account. Beginning in the 18th century, British merchants quickly discovered that by introducing high-quality opium into China, they could earn high profits and use the hard currency to buy more tea. As a result, Chinese society became inundated with opium, and more and more people, including much of the army, became addicted. Twice, from 1839 to 1842 and again from 1856 until 1860, the Chinese government sought to oust the British trade. Hanes and Sanello describe in detail the military operations of both wars, the few Chinese successes and inexorable British wave of victories, culminating in the 1860 sacking and looting of the Imperial Summer Palace and its sumptuous works of art. The opium saturation of China continued until the post-WWII communist takeover, when the Maoist government banned opium, executed dealers and weaned the country (perhaps 10% of the population was addicted) off the drug with progressive rehab programs. The book covers a familiar time and place in history, but the authors make some nice analogies between the brutal economics and empire of the 19th century, and 21st- century forms of money, politics and war. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Historian and educator W. Travis Hanes III, Ph.D., is an expert on nineteenth-century Britain and holds a doctorate in British Imperial History from the University of Texas at Austin. He has written two books on the twilight of the British Empire in Africa, Imperial Diplomacy in the Era of Decolonization and the upcoming Imperialism or Expatriate Nationalism?
Frank Sanello is the author of 15 books on films and history. He was the film critic for the Los Angeles Daily News, and his articles have been syndicated worldwide. Both authors live in Los Angeles, California.
Introduction: Chemical Warfare
Methods and Measures
Chapter -1.Lord Elgin's Revenge
Chapter -2.Disastrous Etiquette
Chapter -3.Zero Intolerance
Chapter -4.Canton Besieged
Chapter -5.The Black Hole of Canton
Chapter -6.The Battle in Britain
Chapter -7. Drugs and Guns
Chapter -8.Diplomacy by Gunboat
Chapter -9.The Economics of Addiction
Chapter -10.Crucifixion and Cages
Chapter -11.Steamed Victory
Chapter -12.A Price on His Head
Chapter -13.The Sacking of Amoy, Ningbo, and Charles Elliot
Chapter -14.Chinese Masada -
Chapter -15."Early Victorian Vikings"
Chapter -16.The Trade in Poison and Pigs
Chapter -17.Strange Interlude
Chapter -18.Outrageous Slings and the Arrow's Misfortune
Chapter -19.Peer Pressure
Chapter -20.Scottish Conquistador
Chapter -21.Hostilities Renewed
Chapter -22.Lord Elgin's Return
Chapter -23.To the Gates of Peking
Chapter -24.A Hostage Crisis
Chapter -25."I Am Not a Thief"
Chapter -26.Rescue and Retaliation
Chapter -27.The Diktat of Peking
Illustrations and Maps
About the Authors