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Deadly Dreams

Deadly Dreams
Opium and the Arrow War (1856–1860) in China

AUD$115.00 inc GST

Part of Cambridge Studies in Chinese History, Literature and Institutions

  • Date Published: January 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521526197

AUD$ 115.00 inc GST

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About the Authors
  • The Arrow War (1856–60) involved all the world's major powers, and could almost be called a world war because of the global economic and diplomatic issues driving it. For twenty-five years Dr John Wong has been trying to discover the true origins of the war. What began as a study of an alleged insult to the British flag supposedly flying over the boat Arrow led to an analysis of complex Chinese and British diplomacy; of the even more complex Chinese tea and silk exports; of British India's jealously guarded economic strategies and opium monopoly; of cotton supplied to the Lancashire mills by the Americans, who thereby made up their trade deficit with China occasioned by their heavy purchases of tea; of intricate Westminster politics and British global trade; of French pride and cultural priorities; of Russian intrigues and territorial designs; and of America's apparent aloofness and real ambitions.

    • New interpretations of Chinese foreign policy and of British expansion in the nineteenth century; new interpretation of annexation of Sind in India
    • Revisionist take on the 'imperialism of free trade' theory
    • New light on British, Indian, and Chinese economy, mid-nineteenth century
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… an exhaustively researched and thoroughly documented study that unravels British and Chinese intentions, perceptions, and reactions, their diplomatic and economic agendas, the impact of personalities, popular opinion, and (in the case of Britain) the press, as well as the roles which other powers played. Deadly Dreams should be required reading for historians of modern China, modern imperialism, and modern India.' Economic History Review

    'The book is a tour de force of evidence and argument … Wong's book has without doubt, now become the standard work on the Arrow war and will certainly become mandatory reading for students of Chinese and British imperial history … this excellent study is indispensable to all future research on Ottoman economic history.' Journal of Asiatic Studies

    'Wong's Deadly Dreams is a masterly piece of research which will set standards for years to come. Wong offers what could be described as an updated version of histoire totale, which starts from the evenementielle and moves towards the larger structures of the global economy. Wong's book is in some respects reminiscent of Braudel's Mediterranean, with its exciting mixture of in-depth study of the 'world system' of the British empire, and detective-like attention for individuals and details.' The Historical Journal

    'J. Y. Wong, in this excellent account that left no record unturned, has come out with the clearest statement on why, all said, that war might yet be simply described as the result of opium trading.' Journal of Oriental Studies

    'Wong's monumental study and the industry over many years it represents must command respect. it is unlikely that anyone will produce a more comprehensive investigation of the Arrow War or trawl so painstakingly through the awesome mass of sources.' Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2003
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521526197
    • length: 576 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 33 mm
    • weight: 0.84kg
    • contains: 19 b/w illus. 59 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Confusion of Imperialism:
    1. An attempt to peel the onion of confusion
    Part II. The Pretext for Imperialism:
    2. An international incident: 'that wretched question of the Arrow'
    Part III. The Personalities of Imperialism:
    3. Harry Parkes: 'if you would read a little international law.' - Punch
    4. Sir John Bowring: possessed by a monomania
    5. Commissioner Yeh: a 'monster'?
    6. Rule, Britannia and vox populi, vox Dei
    Part IV. The Rhetoric of Imperialism:
    7. Marx, Punch, and a political press: the debate among the British newspapers
    8. The Arrow incident and international law: the debate in the House of Lords
    9. Triumph of the liberal conscience: the debate in the House of Commons
    10. 'Johnny is on his knees': the 'Chinese Election'
    Part V. The Mechanics of Imperialism:
    11. Behind the scenes: the diplomacy of imperialism
    12. Behind the scenes: the politics of imperialism
    13. In the wings: the lobbies of imperialism
    Part VI. The Economics of Imperialism:
    14. Anglo-Chinese trade: the Chinese should buy more
    15. China's maritime trade: the Chinese could buy more
    16. The problem of India: the Chinese should and could buy more
    17. The balance sheet: the Chinese are now buying more
    Part VII. The Dynamics of Imperialism:
    18. Conclusion.

  • Author

    J. Y. Wong, University of Sydney

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