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Foreign Mud: Being an Account of the Opium Imbroglio at Canton in the 1830s and the Anglo-Chinese War that Followed (New Directions Classics)

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Based upon selected anecdotal stories written by British observers, this text reconstructs the events of the illegal opium trade in Canton in the 1830s and the war between Britain and China that followed. The volume is illustrated with b&w maps, prints, and photographs. Irish-born Collis (1889-1975)


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Based upon selected anecdotal stories written by British observers, this text reconstructs the events of the illegal opium trade in Canton in the 1830s and the war between Britain and China that followed. The volume is illustrated with b&w maps, prints, and photographs. Irish-born Collis (1889-1975)

30 review for Foreign Mud: Being an Account of the Opium Imbroglio at Canton in the 1830s and the Anglo-Chinese War that Followed (New Directions Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Regine

    A rather difficult book to get through, I am not a fan of the way Collis wrote. Having said that, the subject of this book is absolutely fascinating. If you're patient enough, this book gives you a great insight into the dynamics between the Imperial Manchu court and British merchants who came to trade in China. It is amazing how both sides (especially the british) utterly misunderstood how each other worked due to arrogance and cultural ignorance. The process of bureaucracy is a major part of t A rather difficult book to get through, I am not a fan of the way Collis wrote. Having said that, the subject of this book is absolutely fascinating. If you're patient enough, this book gives you a great insight into the dynamics between the Imperial Manchu court and British merchants who came to trade in China. It is amazing how both sides (especially the british) utterly misunderstood how each other worked due to arrogance and cultural ignorance. The process of bureaucracy is a major part of this book too (Imperial Manchu or British, bureaucracy is once again pronounced, idiot.) A bonus for me was that this book practically writes a significant part of the history of Jardine and Matheson, a company which before reading this book, was only an entity that I always saw on financial news tickers. A fascinating time in history.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Graham

    Surprisingly readable and fascinating account summarizing events leading up to the "Opium War" - but not very much on the war itself. Starting with an overview of the trade concessions granted by the Chinese Emperor for Westerners to buy and sell at Canton only (while less scrupulous merchants illegally traded in opium at additional ports up the Chinese coast), the book encompasses the assignments of Lord Napier and Captain Elliott as successive chief plenipotentiaries to Canton and their attemp Surprisingly readable and fascinating account summarizing events leading up to the "Opium War" - but not very much on the war itself. Starting with an overview of the trade concessions granted by the Chinese Emperor for Westerners to buy and sell at Canton only (while less scrupulous merchants illegally traded in opium at additional ports up the Chinese coast), the book encompasses the assignments of Lord Napier and Captain Elliott as successive chief plenipotentiaries to Canton and their attempts to force trade wide open. The book is mostly sourced from firsthand accounts and contemporary correspondence dating back to the 1830s; Collis himself wrote it in 1946, and the prejudices of both eras are on display, though fortunately less frequently than one might fear. The foolishness and clever stupidity of the British elite is well-represented, if not couched in such terms, as Lord Palmerston's refusal to issue any more than broad strategic guidance to Napier and Elliott hinder the development of a concerted and effective local policy. This story isn't so much one about war; it is about the outbreak of war and about two cultures utterly alien to one another, with diverging strategic interests and foundational worldviews leading to fundamental disagreement, and internal factors turning that disagreement into armed conflict. For that reason alone, it's well worth reading.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Whenever I want to read some really off the wall and long forgotten gem, I turn to New Directions. This sounds like a classic example of what they do best.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chris Feldman

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emma

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ed

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gillian

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sergio Salvador

  9. 5 out of 5

    Steven Ward

  10. 5 out of 5

    Todd

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Mensing

  12. 5 out of 5

    Meg

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elijah Shears

  14. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Shaw

    Dry. Only worth reading if you are a scholar of Hong Kong/China/UK history.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Affleck

  16. 5 out of 5

    Puffsrgone

  17. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nick McCabe

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robert Wang

  20. 5 out of 5

    M Mislan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael J Wormald

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

  23. 5 out of 5

    Peter Huston

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lee Oliver

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Evans

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eva

  27. 4 out of 5

    Fred

  28. 4 out of 5

    Boško Janjušević

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tonya

  30. 5 out of 5

    GrabAsia

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