Chinese/ Japanese lit · Non-Fiction.

Shanghai by Harriet Sergeant

A book about Shanghai. If you hadn’t guessed.

This book charts the time period of approximately 1914-1941 and how Shanghai had once been a great power but the influence of communism, The Japanese and the war destroyed it for good. Harriet certainly has a flair for description and she describes the scenes vividly. This book was written back in 1991, and as she writes of meeting the last survivors of the atrocities inflicted on Shanghai, it is an all-too strong reminder that times like that are now far beyond our reach although such things still happen.

If you are interested in the city or the time period, then its a good book. Fantastic photographs. My only complaint is that sometimes you can’t help but lose track of the story arc as so many stories overlap. Vividly portrays the supposed British superiority over all else weaker than them.

Also a complete steal of a book if you have a fascination with early Chinese cinema, because there are plenty of mentions. The bits about the tragic Chinese actresses had me running to google to find out more about them.

MY RATING: 3 / 5.

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