Merchants of War and Peace: British Knowledge of China in the Making of the Opium War by Song-Chuan ChenMerchants of War and Peace: British Knowledge of China in the Making of the Opium War by Song-Chuan Chen

Merchants of War and Peace: British Knowledge of China in the Making of the Opium War

bySong-Chuan Chen

Hardcover | January 12, 2017

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Merchants of War and Peace challenges conventional arguments that the major driving forces of the First Opium War were the infamous opium smuggling trade, the defence of British national honour, and cultural conflicts between 'progressive' Britain and 'backward' China. Instead, it argues that the war was started by a group of British merchants in the Chinese port of Canton in the 1830s, known as the 'Warlike party'. Living in a period when British knowledge of China was growing rapidly, the Warlike party came to understand China's weakness and its members returned to London to lobby for intervention until war broke out in 1839. However, the Warlike party did not get its way entirely. Another group of British merchants known in Canton as the 'Pacific party' opposed the war. In Britain, the anti-war movement gave the conflict its infamous name, the 'Opium War', which has stuck ever since. Using materials housed in the National Archives, UK, the First Historical Archives of China, the National Palace Museum, the British Library, SOAS Library, and Cambridge University Library, this meticulously researched and lucid volume is a new history of the cause of the First Opium War.
Song-Chuan Chen (PhD, Cambridge) is an assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University Singapore. He specializes in modern Chinese history; his research focuses on the history of Sino-Western interactions and the history of the Chinese lower classes.
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Title:Merchants of War and Peace: British Knowledge of China in the Making of the Opium WarFormat:HardcoverDimensions:240 pagesPublished:January 12, 2017Publisher:Hong Kong University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:9888390562

ISBN - 13:9789888390564

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Editorial Reviews

'War is often not just the clash of arms, but the conflict of different ways of knowing and seeing. Song-Chuan Chen's powerful new book examines the way in which British colonial knowledge of China was constructed. In doing so, he provides important new i