Shanghai by Harriet Sergeant

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In the 1920s and 1930s Shanghai was called "the whore of the Orient", home to gangsters and warlords, where nightclubs never closed and hotels supplied heroin on room service. It became the epitome of glamour, immortalized in books and films. With its bustling population of British, Chinese, Americans, French, Germans, Japanese and White Russians, its extremes of poverty and wealth, it appeared to straddle East and West. By the time the Chinese Communist takeover of 1949 had destroyed the illusion, Shanghai had passed into legend. This portrait of the city in its heyday combines first-hand accounts with extensive research and lively reconstruction.

About Harriet Sergeant

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Harriet Sergeant writes for the Daily Mail and is the author of three previous books, Shanghai, The Old Sow in the Back Room: An Englishwoman in Japan and Between the Lines, a book about apartheid South Africa. She lives in London.
Published January 1, 1990 by Crown. 371 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Education & Reference, War. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Sparkling history of modern Shanghai, short on depth but alive with the fractious spirit of one of the world's most eclectic cities.

Apr 01 1991 | Read Full Review of Shanghai

Kirkus Reviews

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Sergeant visits this old Shanghai in two ways: from the vantage point of a disenchanted modern Westerner who now sees a ``mummified'' Shanghai, rendered ``spiritually dead'' under Communism, and through interviews with Western and Chinese survivors of the pre- Revolutionary period, who recall in ...

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Publishers Weekly

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In a spellbinding portrait of Shanghai in the 1920s and '30s, English writer Sergeant (The Old Sow in the Back Room) digs past the familiar image of a vice-ridden Westernized enclave and uncovers a city of many identities.

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