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Through the Looking Glass: China's Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao

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ISBN-13: 978-9622099821
ISBN-10: 9622099823
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Editorial Reviews


"Through the Looking Glass is wonderful and layered. On one level, it is a delightful insight into the antics of the foreign press corps in an exotic land - a bit like Scoop, but true. On another, it is a historical treasure trove; we learn how Hemingway and Marx saw China, and we revel in the story of Queen Victoria's Pekinese dog, "Lootie". Lastly, it holds a "looking glass" up to the imperfections of perspective that is as relevant now as ever." - James Kynge, former Financial Times Beijing Bureau Chief and author of China Shakes the World

About the Author

Paul French has lived and worked in Shanghai for many years as a founder and the Chief China Representative of the research consultancy Access Asia. He is a widely published analyst, writer and commentator on China. This is his fourth book. His first was One Billion Shoppers - Accessing Asia's Consuming Passions (written with Matthew Crabbe) followed by the well-received North Korea: The Paranoid Peninsula. In 2006 he published his biography of the legendary Shanghai adman, journalist and adventurer Carl Crow - A Tough Old China Hand: The Life, Times and Adventures of an American in Shanghai, described by the Financial Times as a "captivating narrative".


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Hong Kong University Press (June 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9622099823
  • ISBN-13: 978-9622099821
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #648,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul French lives in Shanghai, where he is a business advisor and analyst. He frequently comments on China for the English-speaking press around the world. French studied history, economics, and Mandarin at university and has an M.Phil. in economics from the University of Glasgow.

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Paul French's book has an excellent concept as a one-volume historical narrative of the immense subject of the foreign journalists who worked in China from the Opium Wars to the time of Mao. Clearly French knows a lot about China in general and this specialised subject in particular. He has researched the subject at length in many sources: his end notes and bibliography are good. The book is entertaining, interesting and insightful about a colourful swathe of journalistic personalities and their impact in Chinese politics and society, and in global perception of China through several periods. Colourful characters were so common among these journalists that many are full-length individual biographical subjects in their own right. Probably the most extraordinary of all: Emily Hahn 1905-1997 of The New Yorker. She was one of the most versatile, prolific and risk-taking authors of the 20th century. Hahn lived for six years in Shanghai's red light district, smoked opium, kept a largely uncontrollable pet gibbon she called Mr Mills, and variously "lived in sin" with the noted Shanghai poet/publisher Shao Xunmei 邵洵美 1906-1968 and the British intelligence officer and important author/scholar in his own right, Charles Boxer 1904-2000, who she eventually married after bearing him a daughter out of wedlock.

Very reasonably, French at the beginning of his book explains that he has not attempted a complete directory of the foreign press corps in China. As this would be probably impossible and likely dreary, '...the characters represented in this book represent a selection of the major figures and those who piqued my interest for one reason or another.' Unsurprisingly, the author tends to view the experiences and attitudes of the imperialist generation of China correspondents, like G.E.
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Through the Looking Glass: China's Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao
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