• A Danger Shared: A Journalist’s Glimpses of a Continent at War

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    Photographs by Melville Jacoby / Text by Bill Lascher / Foreword by Paul French

    A Danger Shared: A Journalist's Glimpses of a Continent at War provides a searing visual history of Asia during World War II as seen by foreign correspondent Melville Jacoby.

    In this meticulously curated collection of never-before-seen images, readers experience glamorous Macau soirées, visit Guangxi farms, and witness wartime Chongqing’s wreckage and resilience. Along the way, Jacoby treats Filipino fishermen and Hanoi flower-sellers with the same care as the Soong sisters, Chiang Kai-Shek, and other icons.

    Through scenes of everyday friendship, toil, and commerce alongside bombed classrooms, anxious refugees, and exhausted soldiers, A Danger Shared documents humanity’s persistence at a cataclysmic historical moment.

    Look inside this book:
    Introduction

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    All The Way With Ray: My Autobiography

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      "This is the story of my life: my autobiography. It is also the story of the music scene for almost a century in Hong Kong. In the past, I have mainly communicated with fans and listeners through music. This time, however, is different. After years of hard work, I have finally achieved my wish. I am sharing my life story in words and pictures." All The Way With Ray tells the story of a man from humble beginnings who through hard work and dedication rose to become a giant in the music industry. His passion for popular music, especially that of the 1930s through the 1960s, has brought enormous pleasure to millions over the airwaves for more than 50 years. His daily late-night show built almost a cult following among Hong Kong people, here and overseas, especially those of an older generation. More than just a story of one man, All The Way With Ray documents the history of the music scene in Hong Kong from the inception of radio broadcasting in 1929 to the present day. Against the backdrop of the territory's development and vicissitudes of that time, it charts the success of many local celebrities who credit their stardom in Band Sound, cover songs, Cantopop and folk music in no small part to help from 'Uncle Ray'. LOOK INSIDE THIS BOOK Click the following link to read excerpts from the book! Chapter One: The Early Years
  • Along the Southern Boundary: A Marine Police Officer’s Frontline Account of the Vietnamese Boatpeople and their Arrival in Hong Kong

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    With a foreword by Lord Wilson of Tillyorn, Governor of Hong Kong, 1987-1992

    We had no jurisdiction outside of Hong Kong waters. But we could see their vessels sinking in heavy seas. It was life or death, right there. We just went.”

    Former Marine Police officer Les Bird tells of the harrowing sea journey to Hong Kong made by tens of thousands of refugees in the years that followed the end of the Vietnam War. As he patrolled the southern maritime boundary of Hong Kong, he photographed their makeshift boats and later the people-smuggling vessels coming in – including the Sen On, a freighter ship that was abandoned by its crew and ran aground on Lantau Island.

    With this previously unpublished collection of personal photographs, taken by himself and his former police colleagues, he tells the stories of these boatpeople – the young children, the father who just bought a boat to embark on a 1,000-mile journey, and the disillusioned North Vietnamese battle-hardened veterans – all searching for a new life.

    LOOK INSIDE THIS BOOK
    Click the following links to read excerpts from the book.

    Introduction

  • Ayo Gorkhali: The True Story of the Gurkhas

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    Ayo Gorkhali!” – “The Gurkhas are upon you!” – is the battle cry of one of the world’s most famous fighting forces. Yet the Gurkha story is not only about bravery in combat. It is also a story of tragedy.

    In WWI alone, 200,000 Gurkhas out of Nepal’s five million people took up arms for the British cause. A further 250,000 Gurkhas fought alongside the British in WWII. In their 200-year history, the Gurkhas have served in places such as Malaya, Singapore, Borneo, East Timor, Hong Kong, Cyprus, the Falklands, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo. Although the British Empire’s reign in Asia has ended, some 3,500 Gurkhas are currently serving in the British Army in the UK.

    Written by a Gurkha, this book tells the Gurkhas’ story from the very beginning to the present day. It deals with their history and its ramifications on the nation of Nepal.

  • China Revisited: a series bundle

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    China Revisited is a series of extracted reprints of mid-nineteenth to early-twentieth century Western impressions of Hong Kong, Macao and China. The series comprises excerpts from travelogues or memoirs written by missionaries, diplomats, military personnel, journalists, tourists and temporary sojourners.

    They came to China from Europe or the United States, some to work or to serve the interests of their country, others out of curiosity. Each excerpt is fully annotated to best provide relevant explications of Hong Kong, Macao and China at the time, to illuminate encounters with historically interesting characters or notable events.

    Save 20% by buying this bundle which includes the following items in the series. Please click on their titles below to read full details.

    1 x Where Strange Gods Call: Harry Hervey's 1920s Hong Kong, Macao and Canton Sojourns

    1 x Wanderings in China: Hong Kong and Canton, Christmas and New Year, 1878/1879

    1 x LING-NAM: Hong Kong, Canton and Hainan Island in the 1880s

    1 x Roving Through Southern China: An American’s Explorations of Hong Kong, Macao and Canton in the early 1920s

  • Destination Peking

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    New York Times bestselling author Paul French (Midnight in Peking, City of Devils) returns to the Chinese capital to tell 18 true stories of fascinating people who visited the city in the first half of the 20th century.

    From the ultra-wealthy Woolworths heiress Barbara Hutton and her husband the Prince Mdivani, to the poor “American girl” Mona Monteith who worked in the city as a prostitute; from socialite Wallis Simpson and novelist JP Marquand, who held court on the rooftop of the Grand Hôtel de Pékin, to Hollywood screenwriter Harry Hervey, who sought inspiration walking atop the Tartar Wall; from Edgar and Helen Foster Snow – Peking's ‘It' couple of 1935 – to Martha Sawyers, who did so much to aid China against Japan in World War II; Destination Peking brings a lost pre-communist era back to life.

    Paul French resurrects a Peking that was filled with glitter as well as evil, but was never known for being dull.” The Economist

    LOOK INSIDE THIS BOOK
    Click the following links to read excerpts from the book.

    Contents & Introduction

    The Rooftop of the Grand Hôtel de Pékin: Wallis Spencer’s Peking World & Those Who Went Up on the Roof (1924)

  • Destination Shanghai

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    18 true stories of those who went...

    For the privileged a cosmopolitan pleasure ground; for the desperate a port of last resort.

    A pot of gold at the end of an Oriental rainbow; a thick slice of hell denounced from the pulpit.

    The start of a journey for many; the end of the road for some.

    A place to find fame, or to seek anonymity; rogues, chancers, showgirls, criminals…

    For so many people from so many lands, there was one phrase that sent a tingle of hope or a shiver of anticipation down every spine:

    “DESTINATION SHANGHAI”

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    Contents and Introduction 

    Shanghai’s Most Charming Gangster: Elly ‘The Swiss’ Widler (1940)

  • Diamond Hill: Memories of growing up in a Hong Kong squatter village

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    "Diamond Hill was one of the poorest and most backward of villages in Hong Kong at a time when Hong Kong itself was poor and backward. We moved there in 1956 when I was almost 10. I left when I was 19. Those were the formative years of my life. It’s a time that I remember well and cherish.

    This memoir of a native son of a Kowloon-side squatter village – the first book ever on Diamond Hill, in either Chinese or English – presents the early days of a life shaped by a now-extinct community. Penned by a high-achieving Hong Kong professional, Feng Chi-shun’s sharp recollections of his humble upbringing contain warmth, humour, and an abundance of insights into a low-income Hong Kong neighbourhood that no longer exists – but remains close to the hearts of many who lived there.

    Diamond Hill will invite comparisons with Martin Booth's Gweilo. If you enjoyed the latter, you will likely find the former similarly absorbing, because the young Feng was, for many a “gweilo”, the inaccessible yet intriguing face of an altogether edgier Hong Kong.

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    Thugs and gangsters

  • Explore Macau: A walking guide and history

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    Walking is the best way to get to know any city, and Macau — the former Portuguese colony returned to China in 1999 — is made for walking. Only seven miles square, one can easily walk from the Border Gate to the A-Ma Temple at the tip of Macau in a day.

    This guidebook describes eight routes around the urban peninsula and its outlying islands, sufficient to explore and understand this fascinating old city and its unique blend of European and Asian architecture, cuisine and cultures.

    “An invaluable pocket guide that is perfect for the first-time visitor as well as old hands.” — South China Morning Post

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    Walk no. 3 - From Lilau Square to Barra Point

  • Farewell, My Colony: Last Days in the Life of British Hong Kong

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    20th anniversary edition

    In the heart of Beijing, a large digital clock marked off the seconds until July 1, 1997, when the red, five-star flag of China would be hoisted over Hong Kong – and the grand but untried idea of “one country, two systems” would be put into practice.

    Farewell, My Colony is a real-time journal of the end of an era by an objective observer. American journalist Todd Crowell captures a unique moment in history as Britain stoically soldiers through the last months of its 156 years of colonial rule, China waits restlessly to resume its sovereignty, and Hong Kong buzzes with endless speculation.

    He tells how Hong Kong’s Chinese and expatriates, taipans and cagemen come to terms with the impending change of rule. He mingles with the rich and famous and common people alike. A long-term resident, he votes in elections controversially called by Governor Chris Patten. He then follows the selection of a rival legislature, and of Patten’s successor, shipping magnate Tung Chee-hwa, as the first chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

    The city’s pulse is charted by his pen, through to the pomp, circumstance and partying of the day of handover itself. Now, 20 years later, Crowell has updated this valuable historical record with reflections on what has happened to Hong Kong since 1997.

  • Hong Kong Confidential: Life as a Subversive

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    A former senior Chinese Administrative Officer has at long last lifted another little corner of the veil of half-truths and anodyne official releases which hitherto shrouded many of the decisions and evasions under the long Hong Kong governorship of Sir Murray MacLehose.

    David T. K. Wong — who started working life as a dishwasher in a Chinese restaurant at the age of 13 before becoming a journalist, teacher, colonial bureaucrat, international businessman, and then a writer of short stories and novels — is clearly a man of many parts. He has now turned his narrative skills to producing a pungent, sardonic, cerebral and revelatory insider memoir of his experiences in the upper reaches of the colonial administration during the 1970s.

    In doing so, he draws attention to the political, cultural and economic cross-currents that have always swirled through the uniquely paradoxical city. As a Chinese, he constantly found himself struggling with a three-horned dilemma: how to serve the people of Hong Kong, who paid his salary; the wider Chinese nation, from which he was culturally and emotionally inseparable; and the demands of the British crown, to which he had publicly sworn his allegiance.

    Hong Kong Confidential is a valuable contribution to the historical mosaic of a dynamic Chinese community living through turbulent times.

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    Chapter 1: Interregnum

  • Hong Kong on the Brink: An American diplomat relives 1967’s darkest days

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    Syd Goldsmith’s first taste of China’s Cultural Revolution is blood on his tongue. It’s 1967. Hong Kong is simmering, plagued by communist-led riots and strikes, crippled transport, punishing water-rationing, takeover threats from Beijing and roadside bombs. And Syd — the only Caucasian Foreign Service Officer at the American Consulate General who speaks Cantonese — is made responsible for reporting and analysis of the Hong Kong government’s ability to survive.

    The CIA station chief and the head of Macau’s gold syndicate play major roles in Syd’s story, along with Newsweeks Sydney Liu and Maynard Parker, and a steady stream of inquiring foreign correspondents and China-watchers. Richard Nixon makes a cameo appearance — to talk football with Syd since the consul general won’t see him — in this riveting memoir of a year when Hong Kong’s “borrowed time” seemed about to expire.

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    Chapters 1 to 3

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    Hong Kong Volunteers in Battle: December 1941

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    On the same day as the assault on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese army attacked the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong. Among the colony’s garrison were regiments from Britain, Canada and India as well as men from the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps, better known as ‘The Volunteers’.

    When the battle began on 8 December 1941, the HKVDC deployed a total fighting strength of 1,900 officers and men. These were mustered into seven infantry companies, five artillery batteries and a single armoured car platoon with a full range of support units.

    Over the next 17 days, until the surrender on Christmas Day 1941, the men of ‘The Volunteers’ saw action all over Hong Kong. This is the story of their battle.

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    It Won’t Be Long Now: The Diary of a Hong Kong Prisoner of War

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    Japan marched into Hong Kong at the outbreak of the Pacific War on December 8, 1941. On the same day, Graham Heywood was captured by the invading Japanese near the border while carrying out duties for the Royal Observatory. He was held at various places in the New Territories before being transported to the military Prisoner-of-War camp in Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. The Japanese refused to allow Heywood and his colleague Leonard Starbuck to join the civilians at the Stanley internment camp.

    Heywood’s illustrated diary records his three-and-a-half years of internment, telling a story of hardship, adversity, and survival of malnutrition and disease; as well as repeated hopes of liberation and disappointment. As he awaits the end of the war, his reflections upon freedom and imprisonment bring realisations about life and how to live it.

    Accounts of life in the internment camp differed widely. One friend, an enthusiastic biologist, was full of his doings; he had grown champion vegetables, had seen all sort of rare birds (including vultures, after the corpses) and had run a successful yeast brewery. Altogether, he said, it had been a great experience ... a bit too long, perhaps, but not bad fun at all. Another ended up her account by saying ‘Oh, Mr. Heywood, it was hell on earth’. It all depended on their point of view.”

    Heywood’s highly positive attitude to life is food for thought for all of us today, in the midst of increasing consumerism but decreasing spiritual satisfaction. We have enjoyed freedom and an abundance of material wealth in the 70 years since the end of the Pacific War, but we may not always recognise our true good fortune.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following links to view sample pages from It Won't Be Long Now. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.   Foreword   Chapter 1 - Capture

  • King Hui: The Man Who Owned All the Opium in Hong Kong

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    with a foreword by Sir David Tang

    From the start of the Korean war to the end of the Vietnam war, Hong Kong was a major R&R centre for soldiers and sailors. And there were thousands of local people who made their money making sure these visitors had a good time and got the suits and the girls they wanted. In fact they didn’t just wait for their customers to arrive – they sailed out in a flotilla of small boats to greet the ships as they entered the harbour. And then, when the ships had anchored, they shimmied up the anchor chain to be the first to get the orders for shirts and trousers. These were the tailor shop order men. Peter Hui was one of them.

    But who was Peter? What was his story?

    Well, before he took to being a tailor he had been a famous kung fu fighter; a rich playboy, a frequenter of the pleasure houses of Macau; a gambler (he had run three gambling joints in Canton when the Communists walked in); the brains behind a gang of armed robbers (he alone escaped arrest when their third robbery went wrong); an associate of triads – and, before all that, he had been the owner of the biggest string of Mongolian ponies at the Hong Kong Jockey Club – that was during the war years when he was a leading collaborator of the Japanese. He had once, for a very short time, owned all the opium in Hong Kong!

    Later, after his tailoring days had gone flat, he was paid by a CIA officer to report on events in China. This was during the tumultuous years of the Cultural Revolution, when Red Guard factions fought amongst each other.

    Some periods in history are best illuminated by the stories of men and women who lived through them. This is one of those stories. As we follow Peter’s life – his ups, his downs – we see in sharp focus what it was like to be a Chinese man in the British colony of Hong Kong through most of the years of the 20th century. This is the true, bizarre story of a man who knew everybody and saw everything. He wasn’t a wicked man. He was just trying to get by, like everyone else. This is his truly fascinating story.

    And yet this book is not just one man’s story. It is the story of a time and place – colonial Hong Kong, Portuguese Macau and the south China hinterland between Hong Kong and Canton – seen from the unique point of view of a man who was at home at all levels of society. There are, for example, no other published accounts of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong as seen from the non-combatant Chinese perspective.

    The World of Suzie Wong was a best-selling novel in the 1960s – and this story is its background. If Suzie had been a real girl, Peter would have known her.

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    Introduction

  • Lama of the Gobi: How Mongolia’s mystic monk spread Tibetan Buddhism in the world’s harshest desert

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    Danzan Ravjaa (1803-1856), officially known as the Fifth Noyon Incarnate Lama of the Gobi Desert, is perhaps Mongolia's most beloved saint. The Fourth had caused so many scandals that the Manchu Emperor banned his reincarnation. Consequently, when the young child was enthroned as the Fifth, the Emperor issued an edict of execution on the boy and all associated with the event. The child was only saved by the personal intervention of the Panchen Lama and a letter of appeal from the young Ninth Dalai Lama. Their efforts proved well worthwhile, for the boy went on to become one of the greatest mystics and creative geniuses of 19th-century Mongolia.

    Lama of the Gobi is an investigative account of the life and times of this extraordinary man. It takes the reader on a journey through Mongolian history, Tibetan Buddhism and the traditions of nomadic culture, to generate an appreciation of the man and the legends that surround him. This revealing story winds its way from Danzan Ravjaa’s mythic past until the present day – as the people of the Gobi Desert still faithfully maintain his cult-like status.

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    Preface & Introduction

  • LING-NAM: Hong Kong, Canton and Hainan Island in the 1880s

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    By Benjamin Couch 'BC' Henry, introduced and annotated by Paul French
     
    No. 3 in the China Revisited series
     
    Benjamin Couch “BC” Henry was a missionary in Hong Kong and southern China in the second half of the 19th century. He arrived in 1873 and remained until 1894. Yet he was much more too – a keen observer, a skilled naturalist and an intrepid explorer. His fascination with the flora and fauna of Hong Kong and southern China are obvious throughout the pages of LING-NAM.
     
    The bulk of his career in China was spent in what was then commonly known as “Ling-nam”, the Pearl River Delta and environs of Guangzhou. These excerpts of Henry’s travelogue LING-NAM, published in 1886, contain one of the most detailed walking tours of Guangzhou that has survived. Similarly so his travels through the silk, tea and market garden regions adjoining the metropolis. Abd finally, we have Henry’s ground-breaking account of his expeditions around Hainan Island in 1882, then the most extensive undertaken to date by a foreigner. He was also a keen anthropologist interested in the island’s various ethnic groups, such as the Lois, as well as the various languages and dialects of Hainan. Henry’s portrait of southern China was built up over 20 years work and exploration in the region and provides one of the most in-depth looks at southern Chinese life from the growth of Hong Kong, to the bustling streets of Guangzhou, to Hainan’s “Island of Palms”.

    “Drifting slowly by a large collection of flower-boats, gay with lamps and mirrors, and richly furnished with black-wood sofas and embroidered curtains… Dire confusion is often created among the slipper-boats, whose anchorage adjoins, by the surging of the steamer against their outer lines, causing them to jump, and sputter, and dart about like a swarm of ants, shell-like craft, whilst they vociferously hurl maledictions at the great steamer.”

     

  • Lost Hong Kong: A history in pictures

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    The story of Hong Kong is one of almost constant change. From a sleepy fishing community, Hong Kong – now a Special Administrative Region following its return from Britain to China in July 1997 – has grown into one of the most significant financial and trading centres of the world.

    Hong Kong Island itself has witnessed massive rebuilding over the years, with the result that much of the colonial-era architecture has been swept away and replaced by skyscrapers. Moreover the first high-rise buildings constructed from the late 1950s onwards are now themselves under threat as the constant requirement for more accommodation – both for people and for businesses – continues.

    The Kowloon peninsula and the New Territories have also experienced development, whilst the construction of the new airport saw the destruction of an entire island to create the foundations of the new facility. The pressure for land has seen reclamation schemes extend the coastline of Hong Kong Island far to the north.

    Over the years photographers have recorded the changing face of Hong Kong: its street scenes, buildings and people. This new book – drawing upon images from a wide range of sources, many of which are previously unpublished – is a pictorial tribute to this lost Hong Kong. Once familiar but now long-gone scenes are recorded, offering a tantalising glimpse back at an era which in chronological terms may be relatively recent, but given the rapidity of change, seems like a distant age.

  • Love, Money and Friendships

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    In 1981, David Wong retired after 20 years as an administrative officer in the Hong Kong Government to chance his arm in the city’s cut-throat free market, as the managing director of a large multinational trading corporation. He soon discovered more legal and ethical boobytraps in business than he had bargained for. Nonetheless, he sidestepped them and in 1982, during the Sino-British negotiations to end British rule, he quickly sensed a unwarranted panic over the value of the Hong Kong dollar. He acted accordingly and made himself millions in weeks.

    Wong then visited different parts of China with friends. In the process he fell in love with a young and beautiful member of the Communist Youth League. When he tried to marry her, however, the mainland bureaucracy threw a host of obstacles in his path. After all, he was perceived as a capitalist from Hong Kong. But Wong’s friends used their collective guanxi with members of the Politburo to gain him permission to marry the girl. The title of this volume is aptly Love, Money and Friendships.

    Interlaced with Wong’s narrative are fascinating insights into aspects of China’s long and colourful history and culture.

    LOOK INSIDE THIS BOOK Click the following links to read excerpts from the book.

    Introduction

  • Octopus: The Pioneering Story of the World’s First Contactless Payment Card

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    Nowadays most people are familiar with payments using contactless cards, or even mobile phones. But few know that just after Hong Kong's handover to China in 1997, the city launched the world's first payment system using the then-new contactless smart technology.

    Drawing on the author's inside knowledge, this is a definitive history of how the Octopus card emerged, and how it progressed to become the most successful transport-based payment card. Disappointments and mistakes along the way are detailed and comparisons are made with similar systems in Singapore, London, South Korea and Japan. Chapters on lessons learned and the prospects for cashless societies round out the book.

  • Paper Horses: Traditional Woodblock Prints of Gods from Northern China

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    In 2020 a large album of “paper horses” – prayer prints of Chinese gods – appeared for sale. How had these fragile things, cheaply printed in the 1940s and meant to be ritually burned soon after purchase, survived intact for so long? And how come there were at least three other identical sets in collections around the world?

    In answering this mystery, author David Leffman explores the history and techniques behind traditional Chinese woodblock printing, which dates back to at least the Tang dynasty (618-907). All 93 “paper horses” in the original album are reproduced alongside biographies of the gods, spirits and demons depicted, providing an illustrated introduction to the complex and fascinating world of Chinese folk religion.

    LOOK INSIDE THIS BOOK
    Click the following links to read excerpts from the book.

    Introduction   Stove God   Qilin Bringing Children

  • Paper Tigress: A life in the Hong Kong government

    HK$138.00
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    Rachel Cartland came to Hong Kong in 1972 as one of just two female expatriates in the Hong Kong Government’s elite administrative grade.

    Before she retired in 2006, her life was shaped by the momentous events that rocked Hong Kong during those action-packed years: corruption and the police mutiny, the growth of the new towns, the currency crisis of 1983, Tiananmen Square, the change of sovereignty and the devastation of SARS. The backdrop to her story ranges from Kowloon’s infamous Walled City to Government House to the rural New Territories.

    Paper Tigress is full of humour and incident and, at the same time, an accessible account of modern Hong Kong and the forces that shaped it.

    "Rachel’s remarkable recollection of an exciting era in Hong Kong not only brings back 40 years of shared memories, but is a fair and often amusing story of how colleagues in the Administrative Service worked together to build up this modern city – and, in the process, injected core values that hopefully will stand Hong Kong in good stead for years to come.” – Shelley Lee Lai-kuen, GBS, OBE, JP, former Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs

    Look inside this book
    Click on the link below to read pages from Paper Tigress. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.

    Early Days in Hong Kong

  • Policing Hong Kong – An Irish History

    HK$158.00
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    Part of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Studies Series

    Hong Kong, 1918. A tranquil place compared to war-torn Europe. But on the morning of the 22nd January, a running battle through the streets of Wanchai ended in “The Siege of Gresson Street”. Five policemen lay dead, so shocking Hong Kong that over half the population turned out to watch their funeral procession.

    One of the dead, Inspector Mortimor O’Sullivan, came from Newmarket: a small town nestled deep in rural Ireland. He, along with a dozen and more relatives, had sailed out to Hong Kong to join the Police Force.

    Using family records and memories alongside extensive research in Hong Kong, Ireland and London, Patricia O’Sullivan tells the story of these policemen and the criminals they dealt with. This book also gives a rare glimpse into the day-to-day life of working-class Europeans at the time, as it follows the Newmarket men, their wives and families, from their first arrival in 1864 through to 1941 and beyond.

    “This groundbreaking book is a story of life, death, and crime in colonial Hong Kong. It is also an account of an important part of Hong Kong’s population that has eluded most historians: the European working class. With an arsenal of previously untapped materials in Ireland, Britain and Hong Kong, Patricia O’Sullivan tells the remarkable tales of the families who built their own ‘little Ireland’ in Hong Kong.” – John M. Carroll, Dept. of History, University of Hong Kong

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following link to read pages from Policing Hong Kong – An Irish History. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.

    Introduction

  • Roving Through Southern China: An American’s Explorations of Hong Kong, Macao and Canton in the early 1920s

    HK$90.00
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    By Harry Franck, introduced and annotated by Paul French
     
    No. 4 in the China Revisited series
     
    In the 1920s the American travel writer Harry A Franck was known to readers as the “Prince of Vagabonds”. His wanderings were family affairs and he arrived in southern China in 1923 with his wife, their two young children and his mother. Franck always claimed that his travel plans were random, subject to chance encounters and whatever caught his eye.
     
    He arrives in a Hong Kong which is building modern department stores and large houses while labourers sleep on straw mats beside the harbour. In Macao he visits temples, ancient forts and, of course, casinos. And then to Canton (Guangzhou), a city in flux where new buildings are transforming the waterfront, the ancient city walls are being demolished, and the traditional rookeries of small lanes are being replaced by wide asphalt roads as the city rapidly modernises. Franck also provides us with a highly detailed description of Shamian Island a year after the tumultuous strikes and boycotts that meant naval gunboats and barbed wire still protected the small foreign enclave.
  • Searching for Billie: A journalist’s quest to understand his mother’s past leads him to discover a vanished China

    HK$148.00
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    Ian Gill’s first visit to Hong Kong in 1975 takes an unexpected turn when he meets his Chinese mother Billie’s friends, colleagues and fellow ex-prisoners of war, lifting the veil on a tumultuous past in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

    He moves to Asia and unravels her intriguing journey: from controversial adoption by an English postmaster in Changsha to popular radio broadcaster in wartime Shanghai, from tragedy and a doomed romance in a Japanese internment camp to being decorated by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the United Nations. He discovers a great-grandmother in a determined English farm girl who ends up owning a well-known hotel on the China coast in the 1870s – and he finally meets his father for the first time on a Canadian island in 1985.

    The backdrop for this fascinating family story is China’s turbulent century from the Anglo-Chinese wars of the 1840s to the advent of communism.

    Look inside this book:
    Contents and Chapter 1

  • Shanghai’s Baghdadi Jews: A Collection of Biographical Reflections

    HK$180.00
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    with a foreword by Irene Eber

    A compilation of 26 biographical accounts from the entire spectrum of Shanghai’s Baghdadi Jewish society offers fresh insights into a remarkable community that lived through the crossroads of China’s 20th-century history.

    Using previously unseen diaries and archival material, Shanghai’s Baghdadi Jews documents the rise and fall of larger-than-life personalities who witnessed the Sino-Japanese War, the Occupation of Shanghai and the Communist Party’s rise to power. Photographs illustrate the life and times of these individuals and the magnificent, cosmopolitan city they called home.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following links to view sample pages from Shanghai’s Baghdadi Jews. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.

    Foreword  Sample photo pages

  • Out of stock

    Sheriff of Wan Chai: How an Englishman helped govern Hong Kong in its last decades as a British colony

    HK$138.00
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    In 1976, Peter Mann left a gloomy England for the last corner of the British empire: Hong Kong.

    As a police inspector, he commanded a sub-unit and led a district vice squad in Kowloon, before joining the colonial government’s Administrative Service and working in the fields of transport, housing, security, environment and tourism. He also served as District Officer, Wan Chai. From raids on gambling dens to organising Governors' visits, his work involved him in all levels of Hong Kong society.

    Mann’s memoir is an anecdotal, historical and racy account of Hong Kong’s last decades as a British colony and the colourful story of a young Englishman in the twilight of empire.

    Hong Kong is one of the most intriguing places in the world and its modern history is endlessly fascinating. This book is a highly readable addition to the canon of memoirs which illuminate the period.” – Rachel Cartland, author of Paper Tigress

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following link to read pages from Sheriff of Wan Chai. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.  Arrival in Hong Kong

  • Spatial Cemetery: A Journey Beneath the Surface of Hidden Hong Kong

    HK$168.00
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    The book you are holding contains secrets and stories about Hong Kong that have never before been published. Prepare to have your preconceived notions of this bustling Asian financial hub butchered as you journey through crevices, enter hidden portals, clamber over barbed-wire fences, evade security guards and infiltrate derelict structures to travel back in time. Your hosts are an anonymous grassroots squad of explorers who will show you a side of Hong Kong only a specialist minority know about.

    Although the city has some of the most expensive property on the planet, an unknown world awaits beyond the shimmering skyscrapers and under the glitzy malls. This is the hidden kingdom of non-spaces: environments and structures that lie fallow, usually abandoned and left to rot, or suspended in limbo awaiting evictions and demolition. The HK Urbex crew – a covert collective of urban explorers whose exploits merge archaeology, ethnography, historiography and anthropology – unearth dead zones on the periphery of the city. They invite you to explore haunted schools, rummage through old crime scenes, reconnoitre condemned buildings and uncover the scraps of modernisation which won’t be recorded in history books.

    So come inside, confront the aesthetic of loss, discover the value of dead architecture and see Hong Kong as you’ve never seen it before.

  • Strangers on the Praia: A Tale of Refugees and Resistance in Wartime Macao

    HK$78.00
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    Based on true stories and new research, Paul French weaves together the stories of those Jewish refugees who moved on from wartime Shanghai to seek a possible route to freedom via the Portuguese colony of Macao – “the Casablanca of the Orient”.

    The delicately balanced neutral enclave became their wartime home, amid Nazi and Japanese spies, escaped Allied prisoners from Hong Kong, and displaced Chinese.

    Strangers on the Praia relates the story of one young woman’s struggle for freedom that would ultimately prove an act of brave resistance.

     

  • The Good War of Consul Reeves

    HK$138.00
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    Months before the start of the Pacific War in 1941, John Reeves – his career and marriage failing – is posted as British consul to the tiny Portuguese colony of Macao in southern China.

    The Japanese soon declare war on the West with their attacks on Pearl Harbor and Hong Kong. But because Portugal is neutral, Macao is left alone and becomes a tiny island of neutrality, an Asian Casablanca surrounded by Japanese-occupied China.

    Reeves, a lonely and awkward man, finds himself the only senior representative of the Allies within a radius of thousands of miles. He runs spy rings, collects intelligence, smuggles people to freedom, takes care of refugees and is threatened with assassination – and The Good War of Consul Reeves tells his story.

  • The Hong Kong I Knew: Scenes and Stories from a Childhood in Kowloon

    HK$148.00
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    Illustrated by Lucy Parris

    Returning to Hong Kong in 1947 after the Japanese occupation, seven-year-old Mark Isaac-Williams had the whole of Kowloon as his playground. Billeted with his family in the once-grand but now dilapidated Peninsula hotel, his life was full of adventure – from the rooftop to the basement, he knew the hotel's every inch.

    Roller-skating and horseback riding in Kowloon's streets and paddling in the hotel's fountain were a child's dream after the privations of war. From rickshaws to firecrackers and ladies with bound feet to the ever-present rat problem and smelly beancurd vendors, the mystique of Hong Kong in the 1940s and 50s is brought colourfully to life by Mark's captivating and richly illustrated story.

    The Hong Kong I Knew captures all the glory and quirkiness of a burgeoning east-meets-west colony at mid-century. Fizzing firecrackers, rickshaws in the rain, balusters of bamboo scaffolding – the charming illustrations and commentary are sure to inspire fond nostalgia for a bygone time.” — Claire Chao, author of Remembering Shanghai

  • The Last Tigers of Hong Kong: True stories of big cats that stalked Britain’s Chinese colony

    HK$138.00
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    With pen-and-ink illustrations by Gary Yeung

    Tigers came to Hong Kong. They preyed on pigs, chickens, cattle and deer. They sometimes killed people. They came to Hong Kong most years through to the end of the 1950s, and possibly into the 1960s. As long as there were South China tigers in the wild, Hong Kong saw some of them.

    They stopped coming when they were on their way to extinction in their homeland across the border. Not many people know this, and not many people believe it to be true. But it is true, tigers came. And this is the first written history of the Hong Kong tiger.

    LOOK INSIDE THIS BOOK
    Introduction  Chapter 1

  • The Mercenary Mandarin: How a British adventurer became a general in Qing-dynasty China

    HK$138.00
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    Jersey-born William Mesny ran off to sea as a boy and jumped ship at Shanghai in 1860 when he was just 18. Amid the chaos of foreign intrigue and civil war in 19th-century China, he became a smuggler, a prisoner of the Taiping rebels, a gun-runner and finally enlisted in the Chinese military.

    After five years of fierce campaigning against the Miao in remote Guizhou province, Mesny rose to the rank of general and used this privileged position to travel around China – to the borders with Burma, Tibet and Vietnam – writing opinionated newspaper articles, collecting plants and advising government officials on the development of railways, telegraphs and other modern reforms.

    Mesny eventually settled in Shanghai with a 16-year-old concubine and published Mesny's Chinese Miscellany, a weekly magazine about his experiences. But his story was not to end well. After his implication in an illicit arms deal, his fortunes never recovered, and when he died in 1919 he was working as a desk clerk.

    David Leffman has spent over 15 years footstepping Mesny’s travels across China, interviewing locals and piecing together his life story from contemporary journals, private letters and newspaper articles.

    Look inside this book

    Click on the following links to view sample pages from The Mercenary Mandarin. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.   Foreword

  • The Peak: An Illustrated History of Hong Kong’s Top District

    HK$228.00
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    Part of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Studies Series

    The Peak is Hong Kong’s top residential district, where property prices are as high as the altitude. How did it become an exclusive enclave in the bustling business centre of 19th-century Asia?

    The British wanted relief from summer heat and the Peak was the obvious place to escape it. When the Governor adopted Mountain Lodge as a summer getaway, development accelerated and the opening of the Peak Tram in 1888 made access easier. Gradually a community developed and a church, a club and a school were established.

    This fully illustrated book describes how the now-popular tourist area developed over time and adapted as needs changed.

  • The Slightest Chance

    HK$118.00
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    In war, you can pretend to be someone you’re not. Yet, in war, people find out who you really are.

    Hong Kong, 1941. Anglo-Australian civil servant Dominic Sotherly’s colonial sojourn in Hong Kong becomes complicated by his double life in both war and love. Enigmatic Englishwoman Gwen Harmison possesses secrets of her own – plus an unrelenting desire for liberty. Inscrutable Eurasian Chester Drake is but one of Gwen’s secrets.

    From gaiety at the Peninsula Hotel to persecution both inside and outside of internment, the story journeys from war-ravaged Hong Kong to war-weary China.

    From real history, meet the one-legged Chinese admiral who led Hong Kong’s daring ‘Great Escape’ and the Japanese Christian soldier who risked his life for the enemy. And, uniquely during the occupation of Hong Kong, discover how one Englishwoman made history in her defiance of Imperial Japan.

  • The Tiger Hunters of Tai O

    HK$118.00
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    Hong Kong, 1954. The British colony was not yet ready to hear about a Eurasian policeman having an affair with the police commissioner’s daughter. Twenty-two-year-old Simon Lee tasted swift punishment. He was banished to the outer fringes of the territory, to the far tip of a wild and distant island a stone’s throw from mainland Chinese waters — to Tai O, the ancient and murky trading post where fishermen, salt-farmers and refugees were thrown together with spies, pirates and triads. Pink dolphins swam the waters, eagles fished the sea, and some still believed that a tiger prowled the hills at night.

    It was a place haunted by history, where corpses had floated in the bay just a decade earlier when Japanese troops occupied the police station, and everybody had a secret about what they did during the war.

    Life was unpredictable for the band of beer-swilling misfits that staffed Tai O Police Station. Some said they needed reining in. But when a stranger was murdered on a beach, accused of being a Communist spy, Lee found himself on an unexpected collision course with his own masters in Central. Who had the dead man been working for? What did the secret agents know? Why was Central so eager to brush the execution aside? And who or what really was the ‘tiger’?

  • The Tramways of Hong Kong: A history in pictures

    HK$168.00
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    For more than a century, trams have plied their trade along the northern coast of Hong Kong Island. During that time, they have witnessed the transformation of the local economy from a colonial backwater to the massive financial centre that is the modern city. The post-war years, from the 1960s onward, have seen the radical redevelopment of much of the area along streets such as Hennessy Road and Des Voeux Road, while the reclamation of land along the seafront has seen the tramway, which once skirted the shore, pushed further and further inland.

    Today, Hong Kong trams still provide a vital public service, carrying vast numbers of passengers daily to and from their work or shops, and Hong Kong is one of the few places in the world where it is still possible to ride on the top deck of a double-deck tram. This album explores the history of the tramways of Hong Kong Island through the 20th century. Drawing upon a fascinating selection of photographs, most of which have never been published before, it traces the evolution of the streetscape over that period – giving readers a vivid reminder of a city that has been radically altered over the past half-century.

  • Tin Hats and Rice: A Diary of Life as a Hong Kong Prisoner of War, 1941-1945

    HK$138.00
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    “I can’t visualise us getting out of this, but I want to TRY to believe in a future,” wrote 23-year-old Barbara Anslow (then Redwood) in her diary on 8th December 1941, a few hours after Japan first attacked Hong Kong.

    Barbara's 1941-1945 diaries (with post-war explanations where necessary) are an invaluable source of information on the civilian experience in British Hong Kong during the second world war. The diaries record her thoughts and experiences through the fighting, the surrender, three-and-a-half years of internment, then liberation and adjustment to normal life.

    The diaries have been quoted by leading historians on the subject. Now they are available in print for the first time, making them available to a wider audience.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following link to read pages from Tin Hats and Rice. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.

    Foreword and introduction

  • Sale!

    Trading Places: A photographic journey through China’s former Treaty Ports

    Original price was: HK$580.00.Current price is: HK$480.00.
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    With a foreword by Professor Robert Bickers

    China’s treaty port era extended from the 1840s to 1943, during which time foreigners had a significant presence. This book contains more than 700 photographs of many buildings from this period, most of them commissioned by foreign interests. Many argue that they should never have been built, let alone still be standing. But this book is not concerned with the rights and wrongs of how these buildings came to be. It simply celebrates their existence. A significant number are innately beautiful and all of them embody a history that has clear and present links to our own time and thus remain relevant.

    This book was driven by the author’s interest in the history of China’s treaty port era, in which several generations of his family played a part. It is a tribute to the buildings that remain as a reminder of the past, and a guide to where to find them.

  • Volume 1: Old Hong Kong Photos and The Tales They Tell

    HK$168.00
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    Not your typical photo book!

    David Bellis, founder of the popular local history website Gwulo, shows you a selection of his favourite photos of old Hong Kong. So far, so familiar.

    But then he takes you on a deep dive to discover and understand the photos’ most minute and revealing details. Plague-ridden rats, flapper hats, and chocolates are just a few of the surprising clues you’ll investigate. Finally, David helps you piece the clues together to uncover the photos’ hidden stories.

    Part of a five-volume series; to see the other books, click here.

  • Volume 2: Old Hong Kong Photos and The Tales They Tell

    HK$168.00
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    Not your typical photo book!

    David Bellis puts more of his favourite old Hong Kong photos under the magnifying glass, revealing the photos’ secrets, and uncovering their hidden stories. Flying Italian miners, and the most beautiful woman you’ll never see are just two of the surprises in store for you.

    David runs the popular local history website Gwulo, home to over 15,000 photographs of old Hong Kong.

    Part of a five-volume series; to see the other books, click here.

  • Volume 3: Old Hong Kong Photos and The Tales They Tell

    HK$168.00
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    Not your typical photo book!

    Grab your flippers, mask, and magnifying glass – Volume 3 is full of old photos of people in, on, under, and around Hong Kong’s famous Victoria Harbour. Many of the photos are published for the first time, and although they’re old, they are sharp and packed with detail. So join David Bellis in uncovering the photos’ secrets, deciphering their stories, and meeting the people of old Hong Kong.

    David runs the award-winning local history website Gwulo, home to over 20,000 photos of old Hong Kong.

    Part of a five-volume series; to see the other books, click here.

  • Volume 4: Old Hong Kong Photos and The Tales They Tell

    HK$168.00
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    Not your typical photo book!

    Revisit old Hong Kong through this book’s collection of rare photos, many of them over 100 years old. Then join David to explore the photos’ details, and so discover their hidden stories: the women who toiled up the Peak’s slopes each day, carrying heavy loads of bricks and coal on their shoulders, buried treasure still waiting to be found, Kowloon’s vanishing hills, and many more.

    David runs the award-winning local history website Gwulo, home to over 25,000 photos of old Hong Kong.

    Part of a five-volume series; to see the other books, click here.

  • Volume 5: Old Hong Kong Photos and The Tales They Tell

    HK$168.00
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    Not your typical photo book!

    Meet the people of old Hong Kong through these rare photos, dating from the 1950s right back to the 1880s. There are cobblers, conjurors, compradores, croquet players, soldiers, sailors, Scottish golfers, hawkers, a Hungarian motorcyclist, and more! Who among them called Hong Kong ‘home’? Join David Bellis to find out, as he uncovers clues in the photos’ details that reveal each person’s story.

    David runs Gwulo.com, the award-winning local history website with over 30,000 photos of old Hong Kong.

    Part of a five-volume series; to see the other books,