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Look Inside The Qing Empire and the Opium War

The Qing Empire and the Opium War
The Collapse of the Heavenly Dynasty


Part of The Cambridge China Library

  • Date Published: October 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107069879

$ 154.00

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About the Authors
  • The Opium War of 1839–42, the first military conflict to take place between China and the West, is a subject of enduring interest. Mao Haijian, one of the most distinguished and well-known historians working in China, presents the culmination of more than ten years of research in a revisionist reading of the conflict and its main Chinese protagonists. Mao examines the Qing participants in terms of the moral standards and intellectual norms of their own time, demonstrating that actions which have struck later observers as ridiculous can be understood as reasonable within these individuals' own context. This English-language translation of Mao's work offers a comprehensive response to the question of why the Qing Empire was so badly defeated by the British in the first Opium War - an answer that is distinctive and original within both Chinese and Western historiography, and supported by a wealth of hitherto unknown detail.

    • Focuses on the Opium War, a key moment in world history, and illustrates its long-term implications and influence
    • Explores both Chinese and English archival sources for a detailed reconsideration of the facts of the Opium War
    • Offers new explanations of many historical actors' thinking and behaviour in the context of the values of their own age
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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107069879
    • length: 568 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 34 mm
    • weight: 0.92kg
    • contains: 12 b/w illus. 14 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Qing military power
    2. The unexpected war
    3. From 'suppression' to 'conciliation', and back
    4. The 'battle' of Guangzhou
    5. The collapse of the southeastern ramparts
    6. The resurgence of the idea of 'conciliation'
    7. 'Equal' and 'unequal'
    8. The testimony of history
    Character list

  • Author

    Haijian Mao, East China Normal University
    Mao Haijian is a professor of history at the University of Macau and East China Normal University. He studied at Sun Yat-sen University and East China Normal University. He has previously held appointments at the Institute of Military Science, the Institute of Modern History at the Chinese Academy of Social Science, and Peking University. His books and essays have won numerous prizes, and include several monographs on the Hundred Days' Reform of 1898, a further monograph on the Opium Wars, and a biography of the Xianfeng emperor.


    Joseph Lawson, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

    Craig Smith

    Peter Lavelle, Temple University, Philadelphia

    Introduction by

    Julia Lovell, Birkbeck College, University of London

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