chapter in British history? For this excellent book exposes in riveting detail Britain's shameful and pernicious Bengalese opium trade with China. Jack Beeching traces Britain's thirst for tea and her inability to pay, essentially, in anything other than opium; her maintenance of this trade through two wars advanced upon spurious pretexts encouraged, in part, by parliamentary lobbyists. Interleaved with these events the author describes, just as vividly, the tragic consequences of the Taiping insurrection signalling a further weakening of the Manchu dynasty. Altogether a fascinating read whether you are interested in either Chinese or Indian history.