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The Opium War Through Chinese Eyes 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0804706117
ISBN-10: 0804706115
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Editorial Reviews

Review

It has been no ordinary pleasure for historians of modern China to see Arthur Waley turn his attention to history. In his new volume, mr. Waley has skillfully offered a lively account of the Opium War full of human interest in the most concrete, real, and vivid terms. . . . What he has done, and done admirably, is to account the thoughts and activities of the Chinese as men, not as mandarins and generals. He has stressed what others had neglected, that is, the feelings and sufferings of the common men as affected by the war. The Journal of Asian Studies


Dr. Waley's genius for translating from the Chinese will delight all readers of this book." The Times Literary Supplement


Several Englishmen who took part in this unequal struggle wrote about their experiences long ago, but this splendid book provides the first view of the same events, from the opposite side. Mr. Waley has selected . . . a number of eye-witness accounts of hostilities and translated them with a commentary in his inimitable prose. New Statesman

About the Author

Arthur Waley was a distinguished authority on Chinese and Japanese language and literature. He translated many poems and novels from these languages. He was honoured many times for his work by the Chinese and received the Queen's medal for poetry in 1953. His work includes Chinese Poems, Japanese Poetry, The Tale of Genji and Monkey, the translation of a sixteenth-century Chinese novel, which was turned into a major BBC television series. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (June 1, 1958)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804706115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804706117
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #524,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book deserves five stars. Not because it is an exhaustive account of the first war but because it restores the balance. We have many English language texts on this subject but Arthur Waley, the distinguished sinologist, has become, with this slim volume, an extremely good historian. Using Chinese sources, occasionally adding clarifications from elsewhere, he has achieved a delightful, wistful, plaintive, penetrative and endlessly readable slim volume that finally enables the non-Chinese language reader to enter into what really motivated officials and simple, if middle class, Chinese people in the opium war - the seemingly unbridgable gulf that to this day divides East and West is washed away in this collection of notes from Commissioner Lin's diary and elsewhere, recording what it was like to be there at the time, the perplexity of the citizen and revealing the Chinese, through their thoughtful comments and opinions, their hopes and fears, as precisely like you and I. Read it.
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Format: Paperback
I was going through a used bookstore a while ago and ran across this book. My curiosity led me to purchase it, and I consider this to be one of the best purchases that I have ever made. Being from the United States it is rare that one gets a truly non-Westen point of view when it comes to history. This book is great because it is clear and concise, and very revealing. I have another book just as important called "The Crusades Through Arab Eyes" which is just as good. Again, I suggest them both for the sake of objectivity. TRUE OBJECTIVITY!!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Waley's book is an important addition to the literature on the "Opium Wars", giving the Chinese side of the story from original manuscripts, letters, etc. It puts quite a different light on the founding Taipans of HK, and British business in general, of the period.
Waley's writing style is also easy to read, written in a somewhat conversational fashion complete with his personal comments, in addition to being nicely footnoted as one would expect of an academic work. A wonderful read.
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