Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China’s Last Golden Age

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The empire that thrived in China was imposing and fearsome until the opium war raged between Britain and China. Canton was the center of trade and commerce. Canton was also the endpoint for outside trade, no country being allowed to venture beyond to engage in commerce. Previous attempts by outsiders to sail past Canton had been met with swift force. James Flint, employed by the East India Company, found that out relatively quickly. Attempts to get China to further open its doors failed to produce fruit, as British travelers either underestimated the dynasty ruling the empire or insulted them. As the 18th century came to a close, transition in leadership of the Qing dynasty and corruption in government would lead to a revolt by a group known as the White Lotus. The battles with the Lotus and low taxes enforced led to an ebb in the country’s revenue. The allure of the opium trade would lead to further approaches by moneystruck westerners from the Dutch East India Company and Russell & Co. The stage was set for a conflagration that would tear a country asunder.

Imperial Twilight is a comprehensive re-examination of bumpy times in China’s history. The real-life characters who appear throughout garner the reader’s interest, whatever their true motives. This history reads as compellingly as fiction.

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Star Count 4.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 592 pages
Publisher Knopf
Publish Date 2018-May-15
ISBN 9780307961730 Buy this Book
Issue July 2018
Category History


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