CHINA ONLY YESTERDAY: 1850-1950 by Emily Hahn


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The easy style of Miss Hahn's absorbing account of one hundred years of European intervention in China seems all the more remarkable for the wealth of detail which filters through the narrative. By the 1842 Treaty of Nanking, China relucantly made five treaty ports (Canton and Shanghai among them) accessible to Western trade. From then on it was trouble all the way as British, French and American interests were joined by those of Germany, Japan and Russia. The freak of fate through which China emerged, during the second World War, as a victim of Japanese aggression (a chronic situation), made her a member of the triumphant postwar Western alliance, thus speeding up her modernization program in which the U.S. poured millions of dollars. The emphasis here is on 19th century China's painful adjustment to foreigners in her midst and her officials' day to day handling of the problems it presented. Although the book concludes with Mao Tse-tung's proclamation of the Chinese People's Republic in 1949, a longer assessment of the events in postwar China which led up to the removal of Chiang Kai-shek to Tawiwan would have been desirable- and is the only acuna in an otherwise observant, satisfying book.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1963
Publisher: Doubleday