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Historian Eric Jay Dolin shares his latest
Oct 16 2012 7:00 pm
Eric Jay Dolin's engagingly paced narrative of the early years in the China-America relationship made me smile as I recognized the modern reality in this old tale of the odd couple of statecraft. When America First Met China, in fascinating ways tells us much about who we are today.
--Mark Kurlansky, author Cod
Brilliantly illuminating one of the least-understood areas of American history, best-selling author Eric Jay Dolin now traces our fraught relationship with China back to its roots: the unforgiving nineteenth-century seas that separated a brash, rising naval power from a battered ancient empire. It is a prescient fable for our time, one that surprisingly continues to shed light on our modern relationship with China. Indeed, the furious trade in furs, opium, and b che-de-mer--a rare sea cucumber delicacy--might have catalyzed America's emerging economy, but it also sparked an ecological and human rights catastrophe of such epic proportions that the reverberations can still be felt today. Peopled with fascinating characters--from the "Financier of the Revolution" Robert Morris to the Chinese emperor Qianlong, who considered foreigners inferior beings--this page-turning saga of pirates and politicians, coolies and concubines becomes a must-read for any fan of Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower or Mark Kurlansky's Cod.
Eric Jay Dolin is the author of Leviathan: The History of Whaling In America, which was chosen as one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by The Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe, and also won the 2007 John Lyman Award for U. S. Maritime History; and Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America. A graduate of Brown, Yale, and MIT, where he received his Ph.D. in environmental policy, he lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children. Visit www.ericjaydolin.com for more information.
**A Kirkus Reviews top ten books for fall 2012**
"A rich, highly readable examination of the seeds of poppies, trade, greed, grandeur and an international partnership that remains uneasy and perilous." --Kirkus Reviews
"With a flair for dramatic and fast-paced storytelling, Dolin provides the reader withnuanced insights into everything from pirates, the world-changing impact of the silk trade, the British-Chinese Opium War of the 1840s, and the fearlessness (and naïveté) of the early missionaries to good old-fashioned tales of adventure on the high seas... A valuable and welcome addition to all libraries seeking to improve their collection of relevant histories that inform the current state of Sino-American relations.” --Booklist
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