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Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China's Last Golden Age (Hardback)
  • Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China's Last Golden Age (Hardback)
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Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China's Last Golden Age (Hardback)

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Hardback 560 Pages / Published: 07/06/2018
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Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2018

'Meticulously researched... A rich and finely balanced account of how Britain and China came to blows.' - John Keay, Literary Review

When Britain launched its first war on China in 1839, pushed into hostilities by profiteering drug merchants and free-trade interests, it sealed the fate of what had long been seen as the most prosperous and powerful empire in Asia, if not the world.

Corruption, popular unrest and dwindling finances had weakened China far more than was commonly understood, and the war would help set in motion the eventual fall of the Qing dynasty - which, in turn, would lead to the rise of nationalism and communism in the twentieth century. As one of the most potent turning points in the country's modern history, the Opium War has since come to stand for everything that today's China seeks to put behind it.

By telling this epic story, award-winning historian Stephen Platt sheds new light on the early attempts by British traders and missionaries to 'open' China and paints an enduring portrait of an immensely profitable - and mostly peaceful - meeting of civilizations, which was destined to be shattered by one of the most shockingly unjust wars in the annals of imperial history.

Brimming with a fascinating cast of British and Chinese characters, this riveting narrative of relations between China and the West has important implications for today's uncertain and ever-changing political climate.

Publisher: Atlantic Books
ISBN: 9781786494863
Number of pages: 560
Weight: 1040 g
Dimensions: 242 x 170 x 50 mm
Edition: Main


MEDIA REVIEWS

'Platt's excellent new history of China and its relations with Britain and the US in the 50 years up to 1839 could hardly be more timely... Platt writes beautifully, with a novelist's eye for detail.' - Julia Lovell. The Guardian 

'With a great canvas to play upon and vivid Western and Chinese sources into which to dip his brush, Platt paints a superbly engaging portrait of Anglo-Chinese relations across five deeply consequential decades.' - Christopher Harding, The Daily Telegraph 

'A lively, captivating book... Platt clearly adores his topic' - Gerard DeGroot, The Times 

'Meticulously researched... A rich and finely balanced account of how Britain and China came to blows.' - John Keay, Literary Review 

'Entertaining and well-paced... Platt's compelling book is a sobering read that should focus the minds of those who like to talk of the achievements of the Victorian age without thinking about how those were achieved, or how they were funded.' - Peter Frankopan, Spectator 

'Now that China is once again one of the world's great powers, knowing the history of its relationship with the West becomes ever more important. Platt's book makes a scholarly, but enjoyable, contribution to that knowledge.' - Nick Rennison, The Daily Mail

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