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America's First Adventure in China: Trade, Treaties, Opium, and Salvation

America's First Adventure in China: Trade, Treaties, Opium, and Salvation

Автором John R Haddad

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America's First Adventure in China: Trade, Treaties, Opium, and Salvation

Автором John R Haddad

оценки:
4/5 (2 оценки)
Длина:
277 pages
Издатель:
Издано:
Mar 29, 2013
ISBN:
9781439906910
Формат:
Книге

Описание

In 1784, when Americans first voyaged to China, they confronted Chinese authorities who were unaware that the United States even existed. Nevertheless, a long, complicated, and fruitful trade relationship was born after American traders, missionaries, diplomats, and others sailed to China with lofty ambitions: to acquire fabulous wealth, convert China to Christianity, and even command a Chinese army.

In America's First Adventure in China, John Haddad provides a colorful history of the evolving cultural exchange and interactions between these countries. He recounts how American expatriates adopted a pragmatic attitude-as well as an entrepreneurial spirit and improvisational approach-to their dealings with the Chinese. Haddad shows how opium played a potent role in the dreams of Americans who either smuggled it or opposed its importation, and he considers the missionary movement that compelled individuals to accept a hard life in an alien culture.

As a result of their efforts, Americans achieved a favorable outcome—they established a unique presence in China—and cultivated a relationship whose complexities continue to grow.

Издатель:
Издано:
Mar 29, 2013
ISBN:
9781439906910
Формат:
Книге

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  • (4/5)
    This is an excellent book that mixes big picture issues with individual stories. Unlike many histories that try to be entertaining, this one includes stories and anecdotes that contribute to its overall points rather than distract from them. Haddad brings in personal stories and individual narratives to illustrate larger issues. This isn't terribly surprising because his biggest argument is that in the 19th century, relations were larger driven through individuals rather than governments.In his first section, he looks at the ebb and flow of trade and how certain trading houses were able to gain an advantage. He contrasts this with the British East India Company's monopoly. In one sense, the competition hurt the Americans because they would often flood the market with whatever good was supposed to be in demand, driving down prices and profits. Or they would deplete their resources (such as sea otter pelts or rosewood). But they also had to innovate, which ultimately made some of them more competitive.He also looks at missionaries and the conflict about approaches to mission work between missionaries and with the home boards. He spends a good deal of time on Peter Parker, who came to save souls but ended up acting almost exclusively as a doctor and the US minister. He was at odds with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions on the amount of time he should spend proselytizing and was eventually fired when he accepted the job of US Minister. But he also looks at other, less known, missionaries and the difficulties they had even after the Opium War opened up China.He looks at American politics involving the Opium Wars and subsequent treaties, but even that is mainly driven by private citizens who act a experts and conduits of communication between the governments. It isn't until he gets to Burlingame that one feels the US has a strong official presence in China, but even that was much weaker than other Europeans powers.His discussion of American involvement in the Taiping Rebellion, both with the missionary who inspired Hong Xiuquan and the officer who trained the Ever Victorious Army to fight against him. This is where his story telling is at its best. He really lets the reader feel like he knows these two men and how they dealt with the largest civil war in history. Neither played necessarily decisive roles, but definitely helped shape the events of the rebellion.This is a great addition and really helps illuminate early US interactions with China. I think it will appeal to a non expert. The research is top notch and the writing is excellent. I am considering using it for my next course of US-China relations. Well worth a read!