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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting history of Shanghai from 1842 to 1949, 31 May 2010
By 
Mr. Leong Wai Hong (Malaysia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City 1842-1949 (Paperback)
This book would be interesting for a reader looking for a rollicking and layman history of Shanghai from 1842 (the year when Shanghai was forced by the British Empire to be opened to foreign trade as a treaty port after the British Empire exacted revenge for the Ching dynasty's action to clamp down on the infamous opium trade carried out by the British) to 1949 ( the year when Shanghai fell to Mao Tee Tung).

Stella has covered the ground well. Her writing is easy to read. Her anecdotes are interesting. But if a reader wishes to follow up on them, unfortunately no endnotes are provided.

A reader looking for a more scholarly treatment of Shanghai's history will have to look elsewhere. If one is interested in how Shanghailanders lived during the war years under Japanese Occupation one can refer to In the Shadow of the rising sun: Shanghai under Japanese occupation by Christian Henriot (editor), Wen-hsin yeh (editor)First edition (march 19, 2009). If one is interested in how life was like in the International Settlement in Shanghai from 1919 to 1939, one can read Empire Made Me: An Englishman Adrift in Shanghai by Robert Bickers. This is an interesting biography of Richard Maurice Tinkler, a British man who lived there from 1919 to 1939. But it is much more than a biography. It described life in Shanghai in detailed.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fast Paced History of an amazing Place, 18 Jun 2002
This review is from: Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City 1842-1949 (Paperback)
Having spent 4 months living and teaching in Shanghai I'm probably more than a little biased in reviewing this book as by the time I left it was starting to feel like a 2nd home. However trying to remain objective I think think this book does the place justice. For a city that overwent monumental changes in the 100 or so years covered by this book it a seems quite a slim volume. The pace does farely belt along at times and the names and events start to fly thick and fast but that only reflects the nature or the subject matter. The pace does slow from time to time but these occasion are few and far between. Overall I think this book does justice to an incredible city and I thouroughly enjoyed it. Written with a great attention detail but not missing the bigger picture and social changes that occured it gives you a real feeling for the city even if it does finish it's story 50 years ago.
So in conclusion definitly read if you are going or have been to Shangahi and even if you haven't I would still recmmend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outrageously entertaining, unbelievable, but TRUE, 20 Oct 2009
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This review is from: Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City 1842-1949 (Paperback)
Oh I love this book so much. I can't stop recommending it to friends who live in Shanghai. It's really not one I would want my mum to pick up though. It would give her the 'wrong' impression of what my life in Shanghai may have been like.

From page one this book really grabs you by the nether regions and pulls you into the steaming 'sink of iniquity' that is turn-of-the-century Shanghai. Multi-storied brothels, rival gangs, streets of opium dens and colonial conquerers sitting atop their ivory towers to watch the periphery of the city leveled by the Japanese and overrun by Taiping invaders. This book has it all, and is captured in such compelling and minute detail as to actually throw you into the moment.

Brought to life is the not-so-long-ago history that modern day residents of Shanghai know nothing about. This book made me laugh out load from start to finish. Because I knew it was absurd. Because I knew it was true.

This book is a more sober narrative history of a policeman in Shanghai in the 1800s:
Empire Made Me: An Englishman Adrift in Shanghai
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Miniture of Old Shanghai...., 14 Jan 2002
By 
mail@ericshen.com (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City 1842-1949 (Paperback)
How happy I am to find and read this book!
I have to say I love it a lot, not only because I am Shanghainese, but more important is the insights of Old Shanghai that the book presented to me.
Stella is like story teller who guided me through my home town of her most legendary age....
Yes, Shanghai is a legend for China and other Asian cities, being the 'Paris of the Far East' in the 1930s, 'Safe home for Jews' during the World War II, 'Isolated island' at civil war....too much to mention about the Old Shanghai, as Chinese people called it, the 'Dream land for Adventurers'...
There are many books writen about old Shanghai. However, different from Ellen Chang who wrote about love stories in old Shanghai, I can surely Stella Dong as an excellent historian, and this book is a must for Old Shanghai lovers(like me :-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating slice of history, 14 Oct 2011
This review is from: Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City 1842-1949 (Paperback)
A fascinating period of history in a fascinating place, the author covers the topics well and doesn't shy away from covering the more unpleasant aspects. If anything it goes too quickly through events, and with plenty of names it can sometimes be hard to keep up. Overall recommended for anyone with even the slightest interest in Shanghai (and maybe for those who'd never even know what an interesting place it is).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Add to your collection, 14 Oct 2011
This review is from: Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City 1842-1949 (Paperback)
When studying Shanghai history it's always good to get several angles on the same thing. I found this book helful in putting the history briefly which can be expanded on reading other books on this same era. The Japanese time of control and the Communist moving in could have had more but the pre war days are well covered.
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4.0 out of 5 stars well balanced, 21 May 2011
By 
H. Rogers - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City 1842-1949 (Paperback)
An excellent well balanced history of Shanghai. Many histories tend to concentrate on the foreign community in shanghai but the author, perhaps because of her background, gives equal weigh to Chinese involvement in this strange but fascinating city and in so doing gives a more rounded and balanced history of the city. If there is one sector that she has ignored it is the average foreigner who was not a taipan or worked for one of the large business houses. Anyone interested in this section of the foreign community should read "Shanghai made me." It would also have been useful if the author had written a small postscript of shanghai's history post 1949 (decline then revival). But these are small criticisms of what is an excellent general history of Shanghai.
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Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City 1842-1949
Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City 1842-1949 by Stella Dong (Paperback - 11 Oct 2001)
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