The Opium Wars: The Addiction of One Empire and the Corruption of Another

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Few events in the history of the international narcotics trade are more tragic than the Opium Wars that devastated China in the mid-nineteenth century. Between 1839 and 1860, Great Britain fought two fierce battles to force the opening of ports crucial to its importation of the drug into China. Britain relied on the imposed sale of opium to offset the trade imbalance created by the nation's seemingly unquenchable thirst for Chinese tea. The cost to China was staggering: tens of thousands dead, millions of dollars...
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Overview

Few events in the history of the international narcotics trade are more tragic than the Opium Wars that devastated China in the mid-nineteenth century. Between 1839 and 1860, Great Britain fought two fierce battles to force the opening of ports crucial to its importation of the drug into China. Britain relied on the imposed sale of opium to offset the trade imbalance created by the nation's seemingly unquenchable thirst for Chinese tea. The cost to China was staggering: tens of thousands dead, millions of dollars paid in war reparations, and as much as ten percent of the population addicted to the drug.

In The Opium Wars: The Addiction of One Empire and the Corruption of Another, W. Travis Hanes III, Ph.D. and Frank Sanello tell a vivid story of cultures in collision. Drawing on historical documents and firsthand accounts they recreate international events leading up to Britain's invasion of the Chinese mainland. They capture the chaos and turmoil of two decades of war that saw Britain's world-class armed forces engaging Chinese defenses still dependent on medieval weaponry and military strategies.

The Opium Wars were a public spectacle that played out in the international arena and involved a host of political dignitaries, including Queen Victoria, Prime Minister William Gladstone, and James Bruce, Lord Elgin. This stirring chronicle relates not only the stories of these well-known historical figures, but also the personal stories of civilians and soldiers on both sides who fought valiantly for their countries. As the authors show, the moral and commercial consequences of this all-but-forgotten upheaval in nineteenth-century history are still being felt in world politics today.

W. Travis Hanes III, Ph.D., holds a doctorate in British Imperial History from the University of Texas at Austin. He has served on the faculties of Southwestern University and Southwest Texas State University and is author of Imperial Diplomacy in the Era of Decolonization: The Sudan in Anglo-Egyptian Relations, 1945-1956.

Frank Sanello is a nationally syndicated columnist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and other periodicals. He is the author of fifteen books, including the historical study The Knights Templar: God's Warriors, The Devil's Banker.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760776384
  • Publisher: Sterling Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/20/2005
  • Pages: 334
  • Product dimensions: 6.62 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.45 (d)

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