Shanghai by Harriet Sergeant

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In the 1920s and 30s, Shanghai was known as "The Whore of the Orient," home to gangsters and warlords, nightclubs that never closed, and hotels that supplied heroin with room service. The city became the epitome of glamour, immortalized in books and films. With its bustling, polyglot population of British, Chinese, Americans, French, Germans, Japanese, and White Russians, and with its extremes of poverty and wealth, it appeared to straddle both East and West. By the time the Chinese Communist takeover in 1949 had destroyed the illusion, Shanghai had passed into legend. Here, through firsthand accounts, skillful research, and imaginative reconstruction, Harriet Sergeant brings the citys heyday vividly to life in a captivating account of its rise and fall. Harriet Sergeant is the author of Between the Lines and The Old Sow in the Back Room, which Booklist hailed as an "elegant, emotional, and fascinating portrayal."

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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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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