- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Viking; 1st Printing edition (March 18, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670021520
- ISBN-13: 978-0670021529
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.4 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 153 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #677,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World's Favorite Drink and Changed History Hardcover – March 18, 2010
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*Starred Review* Through the adventures of Robert Fortune, a nineteenth-century plant hunter, the reader learns a delicious brew of information on the history of tea cultivation and consumption in the Western world. Rose’s book is certain to draw the attention of history buffs, foodies, avid travel-literature fans, followers of popular science, and perhaps even business-interest book consumers as she reconstructs what she posits as the “greatest theft of trade secrets in the history of mankind.” Tea was grown in China. Great Britain wanted tea. But trying to trade with the Celestial Empire was like pulling teeth. So the East India Company sent hunter Fortune, undercover (dressed in mandarin robes), to penetrate the depths of China and surreptitiously gather—steal, in other words—seeds and young plants and send them to India, where they would flourish in soil that was part of the British Empire. The author’s bold conclusion to this remarkably riveting tale is that Fortune’s “actions would today be described as industrial espionage,” but nevertheless he “changeed the fate of nations.” --Brad Hooper
"A wonderful combination of scholarship and storytelling"
-Guy Raz, NPR host All Things Considered.
"With her probing inquiry and engaging prose, Sarah Rose paints a fresh and vivid account of life in rural 19th-century China and Fortune's fateful journey into it...if ever there was a book to read in the company of a nice cuppa, this is it."
"The plot for Sarah Rose's For All the Tea in China seems tailor-made for a Hollywood thriller...a story that should appeal to readers who want to be transported on a historic journey laced with suspense, science and adventure."
"An enthusiastic tale of how the humble leaf became a global addiction."
-The Financial Times
"A delicious brew of information on the history of tea cultivation and consumption in the Western world...a remarkably riveting tale."
-Booklist, (starred review)
"In For All the Tea in China, the most eventful era of the tea plant gets the inspired treatment it deserves."
-Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Sarah Rose steeps us in the story of Robert Fortune."
-National Geographic Traveler
"Pause to reflect that the tea you are enjoying is totally hot - as in, stolen! Nabbed! Ripped off! Nothing more than the subject of international corporate espionage!"
-Chicago Sun Times
"In this lively account of the adventures (and misadventures) that lay behind Robert Fortune's bold acquisition of Chinese tea seedlings for transplanting in British India, Sarah Rose demonstrates in engaging detail how botany and empire- building went hand in hand."
-Jonathan Spence, author of The Search for Modern China
"As a lover of tea and a student of history, I loved this book. Sarah Rose conjures up the time and tales as British Legacy Teas are created before our eyes. We drink the delicious results of Robert Fortune's adventures every day."
-Michael Harney, author of The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea
"For All The Tea In China is a rousing Victorian adventure story chronicling the exploits of botanical thief Robert Fortune, who nearly single- handedly made the British tea industry possible in India. Sarah Rose has captured the thrill of discovery, the dramatic vistas in the Wuyi Mountains, and the near-disasters involved in Fortune's exploits. For tea-lovers, history buffs, or anyone who enjoys a ripping good read."
-Mark Pendergrast, author of Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World.
Top customer reviews
The impact of such a simple thing as importing tea and the history and social impact are compelling, whether or not her dialogue or empathic comments are accurate. The net-net is, this is a good read. Other reviews critique the scholarly issues and miss the point entirely. This is a book about a frame of reference, of time and place, and the footnotes and accuracy of conversations are unimportant.
Methinks the reviewers who attack the book on scholarly grounds have no concept of the Journalistic license popularized, but not invented, by Truman Capote ["In Cold Blood"] in the non-fiction novel genre. [The non-fiction novel is a literary genre which, broadly speaking, depicts real historical figures and actual events narrated woven together with fictitious allegations and using the storytelling techniques of fiction. The non-fiction novel is an otherwise loosely-defined and flexible genre. The genre is sometimes referred to as or faction, a portmanteau of "fact" and "fiction".]
I only hope Ms. Rose has another book in the writing. I am thrilled with the doors opened to other historical adventures.
The most surprising part I learned was how long it took to "steal the tea".
If you are a tea lover, you will love this book and it will give you many insights to the modern history of tea and clarify many things you may have wondered about. In passing it also explained the mysteries of now obscure and unused tea names like Bohea and Congou.
treasures like tea plants, etc.and a greater appreciation of each cup of tea I drink.