Bibliography 5

5. The Opium Wars and international trade:

  • Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China’s Last Golden Age, Stephen R. Platt, Alfred A. Knopf, 2018.  A wonderful historical account of the origins of the Opium Wars. Extremely well written and readable, the descriptions and details in this book convey the feel of front row seats to the events of the time and will keep you turning the pages. Author Stephen R. Platt is a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is a fellow of the  National Committee on US-China Relations’ Public Intellectuals Program.
  • Opium: England’s Coercive Policy and Its Disastrous Results in China and India, Reverend John Liggins, reprint of 1882 book.  Written by an American missionary who served in China, this firsthand, on the ground, account of the impact of opium smoking on the Chinese people and of the English government’s reluctance to halt the trade is chilling.  It should be noted, however, that American traders accounted for a fifth of the opium sold into China.
  • The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire, William Dalrymple, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019. The history of the East India Company on the Indian subcontinent, where the company grew the opium sold to the Chinese. This book won the 2020 Arthur Ross Bronze Medal from the US Council on Foreign Relations.  
  • Sarah Rose, For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History, Hutchinson, 2009.  The story of how England’s East India Company finally succeeded in smuggling the tea plant out of China in 1848, breaking the Chinese monopoly on the supply of the world’s tea.