The Inner Opium War by James Polachek
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Overview: Why did defeat in the Opium War not lead Ch’ing China to a more realistic appreciation of Western might and Chinese weakness? James Polachek’s revisionist analysis exposes the behind-the-scenes political struggles that not only shaped foreign-policy decisions in the 1830s and 1840s but have continued to affect the history of Chinese nationalism in modern times. Polachek looks closely at the networks of literati and officials, self-consciously reminiscent of the late Ming era, that sought and gained the ear of the emperor. Challenging the conventional view that Lin Tse-hsu and his supporters were selfless patriots who acted in China’s best interests, Polachek argues that, for reasons having more to do with their own domestic political agenda, these men advocated a futile policy of militant resistance to the West. Linking political intrigue, scholarly debates, and foreign affairs, local notables in Canton and literati lobbyists in Peking, this book sets the Opium War for the first time in its "inner, " domestic political context.
Genre: Non-Fiction > General