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No Dogs and Not Many Chinese: Treaty Port Life in China, 1843-1943 Paperback – 11 May 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; New edition edition (11 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071956400X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719564000
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,956,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


`A first-rate account of one of the more shameful (but never boring) episodes in our imperial history, balanced, superbly written and entertaining.' Sual David, The Times; `An excellent study of the old treaty ports, Hong Kong and Shanghai.' Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times; `Vivid, highly enjoyable and witty . . . Frances Wood has caught the authentic and often pungent flavour of life in the lost world of the treaty ports.' Lawrence James, Daily Mail; `A factual narrative that combines a colourful description of daily life, based on intimate sources such as memoirs and letters, set against a background of diplomatic and military events of the time . . . a superb book.' George Walden, Evening Standard

Book Description

In the first Chinese treaty ports, opened in 1843, foreign traders ruled their own settlements. The last inhabitants of the treaty ports are still alive: through their reminiscences and the accounts of their predecessors Frances Wood recalls a foreign life lived in a foreign land.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I grew up in China from 1928 to 1937 and so this book fascinated me with being able to fill in so much detail that I had missed as a boy's perspective on the events. Some reviewers have used their review to lambaste the attitude of the foreigners to the Chinese, and, of course, by today's standards this dismissive and contemptuous view is inexcusable, but one has to consider the prevailing attitude to "johnny foreigner" at that time, mainly based on the stanard of living of the ordinary Chinese, and without any understandijg of the cultural hinterland. Frances Wood has a benign approach that mirrors today's values, and for anyone interested to know what it was like living in China in that century will find it difficult to put the book down. I did.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book as part of my background reading for a dissertation in which the Treaty Ports feature, and it has proved very useful as a social history of a time when the British Empire, having reached its zenith started on a long and slippery decline. Frances Wood knows her subject inside out and her writing style is very engaging. Useful for a general reader interested in this time/region as well as for research.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 12 July 2016
By J. Cheung - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairly good but does not consult Chinese sources 1 Feb. 2001
By Clay Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting book to read, and seems to a good job at conveying the lively, chaotic, and bustling life of ignorant Westerners in the treaty ports of China, like Shanghai, Port Amoy (now called Xiamen) and others. But while it is interesting to read, it suffers from one of the same faults that so many of the Westerners in that book had, it does not consult Chinese sources. Another minor annoyance to some younger China students like me is the way it is inconsistent about the systems of romanization it uses. Despite these flaws (which are comparatively minor) this is an interesting book to read.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars China Breeze 5 Nov. 2002
By Jeff Hemlin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I found this an interesting but superficial account of <mostly> British life in the Treaty Ports of China. So often Ms. Wood takes the reader on a provocative path, only to leave them wondering what happened. For example: where were all of the Anglo-Chinese children that no doubt were propagated during this time? Out of sight out of mind I guess?
The flavours and tastes of Empire are there to be tasted though, throw in little Somerset Maugham and you have some good escapist reading.
1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So Who Asked You to Come 26 Nov. 2009
By Grey Wolffe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
That Europeans (mostly Brits) had to fight their way into China, it wasn't done out of the goodness of their hearts. Well you may say, that's not true when it comes to the Missionaries, but what was wrong with the religions in China before the coming of the Christians? It's not like Christians treated the Chinese any better than the Chinese did. Oh, it's true the Missionaries probably did, but the rest of the Europeans, mostly Christians, treated the Chinese like idiot children.

All of these 'treaty ports' were opened for one reason and that was to supply opium to the Chinese masses. True that other commodities were later brought in and large banks and such established (but not for use by most Chinese) but this wasn't done with an eye at turning these over to the Chinese in the near future. What the Europeans wanted was to be able to sell to the 400,000,000 Chinese, what was being manufactured in Europe whether the Chinese needed it or not. So how benevolent were these 'Treaty Ports'? Not Very. Even the Europeans looked down on the half-caste and those Chinese who 'made it' were never looked at as equals.

Wood seems to feel that the Chinese weren't thankful enough for all the 'civilization' that Europeans brought to China. As if China didn't have enough problems with their current civilization, they needed the 'garbage' that Europe wanted to unload on them. Drugs and prostitution, the 'voluntary' emigration of 'coolies' who were exploited like Africans in the Western Hemisphere. Yes, these were all things that the average Chinese was waiting for.

Once again, who asked the Brits to establish their 'culture' in China? And what was so superior about that culture to any other? Nothing (or less that was lost of the Chinese culture) that couldn't be done without.

Nowhere in the book is there an alternate view by any European much less an Asiatic point of view.

Zeb Kantrowitz
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting survey 27 May 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I would recommend this book if you're not looking for an indepth analysis of the 100 years (1843-1943) of treaty-port history. A light read, Wood does a good job in providing a splattering of social history, individual anecdotes, and then some macro-level historical framework. On the whole, its an interesting read.
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