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This book is essentially wretched, full of prejudice against Asians, and unabashedly chauvinistic. However, as a researcher studying the phenomenon of "the yellow peril" at the turn of the twentieth century, as well as apocalyptic fiction, I was totally engrossed. Admittedly, I skipped over many of the detailed battle descriptions, but the completely biased portrayal of the cruelty of the Chinese was nonetheless historically interesting, and by the time I got to the part where the Asians completely overrun and destroy Europe, I just couldn't put the book down. So if you can overlook the despicable racism and take the book as representative of the widespread apprehensions of Europeans during this period, particularly the fear of a devastating invasion from Asia, you should definitely read it. But if you want an entertaining read and can't stand chauvinism and prejudice, then you will surely hate it and probably give it one star. I am rating it on the basis of my admittedly biased interests as a scholar interested in decadence and the fin de siècle. I appreciated his bizarrely eccentric and wholly original book The Purple Cloud even more as an example of decadent and apocalyptic literature, so much so that I went ahead and purchased almost all of his books. But that book too is certainly not a book for everyone.
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