Eric Jay Dolin
When America First Met China:
An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail
September 14, 2012
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store is pleased to welcome award-winning author ERIC JAY DOLIN for a discussion of his epic tale of opium smugglers, sea pirates, and dueling clipper ships, When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail.
Illuminating one of the least-understood areas of American history, Eric Jay Dolin now traces our fraught relationship with China back to its roots: the unforgiving nineteenth-century seas that separated a brash, rising naval power from a battered ancient empire.
It is a prescient fable for our time, one that surprisingly continues to shed light on our modern relationship with China. Indeed, the furious trade in furs, opium, and bêche-de-mer--a rare sea cucumber delicacy--might have catalyzed America's emerging economy, but it also sparked an ecological and human rights catastrophe of such epic proportions that the reverberations can still be felt today. Peopled with fascinating characters, from the "Financier of the Revolution" Robert Morris to the Chinese emperor Qianlong, who considered foreigners inferior beings, this page-turning saga of pirates and politicians, coolies and concubines will delight fans of Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower or Mark Kurlansky's Cod.
“Eric Jay Dolin's engagingly paced narrative of the early years in the China-America relationship made me smile as I recognized the modern reality in this old tale of the odd couple of statecraft. When America First Met China, in fascinating ways, tells us much about who we are today.” —Mark Kurlansky, author Cod
“A smart, riveting history of what has become the most important bilateral relationship in the world. . . . An all-around outstanding work of maritime history.” —Douglas Brinkley, author of Cronkite
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