• The Girl Who Dreamed: A Hong Kong Memoir of Triumph Against the Odds

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    At the age of 14, Sonia Leung was raped by her ping-pong coach.
     
    She had moved from China two-and-a-half years earlier to join her family in Hong Kong, but she could not fit in. The family of six lived in a cramped subdivided hut in a Kowloon squatter village but rarely communicated with each other. The difficulties of adjusting to colonial Hong Kong heightened the tensions between her parents. Feeling trapped and unloved, Sonia was too afraid to tell anyone about the rape. She saved money by working part-time at McDonald's and, a year later, she bought a one-way plane ticket to Taipei and ran away from home.
     
    The Girl Who Dreamed is a memoir of her childhood in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan – and how, through work and further education, she found her way to an independent life away from the family and world from which she needed to free herself.
  • 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

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

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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

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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

  • 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

  • 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.”

     

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

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    By Constance Gordon-Cumming, introduced and annotated by Paul French
     
    No. 2 in the China Revisited series
     
    Inveterate Victorian traveller and prolific artist Constance Gordon-Cumming, born in Glasgow in 1837, roamed far and wide from the Scottish Highlands to the American West; the islands of Hawaii to southern China. Even among her many adventures, her 1878/1879 trip to Hong Kong was momentous. Gordon-Cumming arrived just before Christmas 1878 to inadvertently witness the terrible “Great Fire” of Hong Kong that swept devastatingly through the Central and Mid-Levels districts.
     
    She then moved on to explorations of the streets, temples and Chinese New Year festivities in Canton (Guangzhou). Her detailed descriptions of the teeming streets of the city’s commercial districts and New Year temple fairs contrast with her temporary residence in the relative calm of the foreign enclave on Shamian Island. Venturing out of the city on expeditions, Gordon-Cumming gives us perhaps one of the most complete descriptions of the now long-gone market gardens of Fa-tee with the famed nurseries that cultivated a bewildering variety of flowers and ornamental trees.

    Finally Gordon-Cumming returns to Hong Kong to observe the annual "Derby Day" races at Happy Valley in February 1879, a major event on Hong Kong’s Victorian-era social calendar. Gordon-Cumming is at one and the same time that rare travel writer who, while plunging into the throngs and crowds, manages to observe the minutiae of life around her.

    “The flames rapidly gained the mastery, suddenly bursting from fresh houses here and there, where least suspected, and spreading from street to street. That night we stood watching this appallingly magnificent scene – the flames rising and falling, leaping and dancing, now bursting from some fresh house, shooting up in tongues of fire, now rolling in dense volumes of black smoke.”

     

  • Where Strange Gods Call: Harry Hervey’s 1920s Hong Kong, Macao and Canton Sojourns

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    By Harry Hervey, introduced and annotated by Paul French
     
    No. 1 in the China Revisited series
     
    As a young man in the southern United States in the early years of the twentieth century Harry Hervey dreamt of travelling to Asia. He also dreamt of writing novels, movie scripts and travel books. He would do all these things. Eventually, in 1923, Hervey managed to find a way to get to the Far East working on a cruise liner. He was to spend time sojourning in Hong Kong, Macao and Guangzhou. His impressions of his travels through southern China, contained in his 1924 travelogue Where Strange Gods Call, is both lyrical and detailed, as well as atmospheric and informative. Walking from Central to Kennedy Town; the basement “dives” of Belcher’s Street to the private dining rooms of Queen’s Road; Macao’s Praia Grande to its infamous fan-tan houses, Hervey is a fascinating flâneur and guide. So too in Guangzhou, a city in upheaval, where Hervey encounters those fleeing warlord violence in the north and is granted an audience with Dr Sun Yat-sen.
     
    Hervey’s impressions of China would stay with him for the rest of his life, not least in his treatment for the 1932 movie Shanghai Express. Sadly, in the intervening century since the first publication of Where Strange Gods Call in 1924, Hervey’s name and work have been largely forgotten. Yet his early travel writing was to influence his later bestselling novels, popular short stories and Hollywood screenplays which, in turn, influenced American perceptions of Hong Kong, Macao and China.

    This publication of Hervey’s impressions of southern China also includes the sketches of his good friend the Savannah artist Christopher Murphy Jr., which were included in the first edition of Where Strange Gods Call and bring Hervey’s descriptions further to life.

    “Approaching Canton we were gliding past ugly, ramshackle dwellings and go-downs; grass-thatched house-boats, sampans, junks, and lighters, and millions of roofs that were flung in uneven terraces against the sky.”

     

  • 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

  • Chinese Gods: An introduction to Chinese folk religion

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    with a foreword by John Blofeld

    Chinese gods: Who are they? Where did they come from? What do they do?

    Chinese folk religion is the underlying belief system of more than a billion Chinese people. Go into any Chinese home, office or restaurant and you will see altars, statues or paper ‘good luck’ images. And wherever there is a Chinese community there are temples and Earth God shrines. But what is the religion that makes sense of all these expressions of belief? How do these beliefs connect to Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism?

    Chinese Gods helps us understand the building blocks of this religion for which even the Chinese have no name – because the beliefs are so intertwined with language and culture they have no independent existence – and provides an in-depth analysis of 19 of the major gods of the Chinese pantheon.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the links to view sample pages from Chinese Gods.  

    Contents & Preface  Kuan Ti

  • 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

  • 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)

  • Why Your CEO Failed in China: True tales of how not to do business in the People’s Republic

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    Previously published, in shorter form, as Business Republic of China

    Jack Leblanc arrived in China in 1989 intending to teach for just two years. He was to spend the next two decades on a very different learning curve as he became involved in a series of business ventures in almost every part of the Middle Kingdom.

    From farmyard to factory, boardroom to banquet, Leblanc witnessed (and occasionally assisted) the transformation of China from a socialist economy into the world's greatest experiment in capitalism. Over time it dawned upon him that the key to success is to manage the differences in Chinese and Western business behaviour. To do well in China you must carefully adapt your strategies – or face ruin faster than you can learn how to use chopsticks.

    This book is rich in practical detail. Leblanc’s experiences make for instructive reading for any foreign executive doing business in China.” China Economic Review

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

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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.

     

  • Sale!

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

    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.

  • Great Leaps: Finding home in a changing China

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    In Great Leaps, Colin Flahive explores China’s rural-urban migration against the backdrop of his own transition from Colorado to southwest China. There, in Yunnan province, he partnered with three friends to open a café that became much more than simply an outpost of Western cuisine in a far-flung corner of the world.

    Over the course of a decade, Salvador’s Coffee House became home to more than fifty young women from mountain villages in the surrounding countryside. Most knew nothing about coffee or Western food, but they moved to the city to work at Salvador’s and earn their independence.

    Great Leaps follows the challenges faced by Colin, his partners and his employees as they leave their old lives behind to make a new home in a foreign land. They encounter unlikely successes, endure heartbreaks and nearly lose everything. But by taking the leap together, they all find their own places in the modern Chinese dream.

    Look inside this book
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    Chapter 1: From the Countryside

  • Chinese Street Food: A Field Guide for the Adventurous Diner

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    Street food is the fuel of daily life in China, just as it has been for generations. In every Chinese city, adventurous travelers seeking a deeper understanding of authentic Chinese culture can find unique local street foods unavailable anywhere else in the world.

    If you want to sample these treasures but don’t know where to start, look no further. With full-color pictures, taste descriptions, Chinese characters and pinyin names of hundreds of foods from 53 Chinese cities, this book gives you all the information you need to find the most delicious local dishes China can offer.

    "Frank Kasell is one of China's best food bloggers. His blog is a giant, eating travel adventure." - City Weekend magazine, Shanghai

  • The Dictionary of the Asian Language

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    with cartoons by Ming

    Of course there is no single Asian language. But plenty of vogue words from this booming continent are entering English.

    Did you know there is a flower named after former North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il? The Chinese have a word – shengnu, literally leftover – for the new phenomenon of unmarried women over thirty. Can you tell your jeepney from your jilbab, or yakuza from the yellowshirts?

    These are just some of the hundreds of words that illuminate little corners of life and culture in a pan-Asian selection of keywords from the zeitgeist.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following link to read pages from The Dictionary of the Asian Language. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.

    aaiiiyah! to Ayutthaya

  • 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

  • Getting Along with the Chinese: For Fun and Profit

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    Are the Chinese really so inscrutable?

    China Hand Fred Schneiter delves into the lighter side of Chinese psychology, and in doing so demystifies one of the toughest markets in the world. With an unfailing sense of humor, he offers insights for Sinophiles, Sinophobes and everyone in between. On the Hong Kong bestsellers list for twelve months, this book is now back in a new edition — the essential item to pack in your China survival kit.

    "Everyone working with Chinese, in or out of China, should read this and send a copy to their boss." -- Daniel Ng, managing director, McDonald's Hong Kong/South China

    "Should be required reading for everyone setting out for China for the first time. Lighthearted and highly readable." -- Donald M. Anderson, president, US-China Business Council

    Look inside this book!
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    Prologue and Chapters 1 & 2

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

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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

  • South China Morning Blues

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    There’s no place quite like it. From Guangzhou to Hong Kong, the booming megalopolis of the Pearl River Delta has endless stories to tell. South China Morning Blues is filled with these tales of the postmodern East: depraved, rapidly changing, and never boring.

    Just what kinds of people find themselves in 21st-century China? There’s Marco, a crooked businessman with a penchant for call girls; Danny, a culture-shocked young traveler; Sheila, a local club girl caught up in family politics; Amber, a drug-fueled aspiring model; Terry, an alcoholic journalist; and Ting Ting, a lovable artist with a chip on her shoulder. Their lives intertwine in unexpected ways as they delve deeper into their surroundings and in the process learn more about themselves.

    China may be leading the world into the future, but its inhabitants will have to make sense of the present if that future is ever going to arrive.

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    Prologue: Shenzhen  Monkey

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

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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

  • The Yunnan Cookbook: Recipes from China’s land of ethnic diversity

    HK$208.00
    • USD: US$26.57
    • CNY: CN¥192.21
    • GBP: £21.34
    • EUR: €25.00
    • AUD: AU$41.23
    • CAD: CA$36.62
    • JPY: ¥4,097

     

    From the yaks which graze at altitudes so high that vegetables cannot grow, and the paradise of Shangri-La; through the flower markets of Kunming, the dramatic tea terraces of Pu-er, and forest floors covered with wild mushrooms; to the tropical south where market stalls brim with brilliant red chillies and shimmering purple eggplants.

    Yunnan, an exotic land of former kingdoms which borders Tibet, Sichuan, Burma, Vietnam and Laos, is the most bio-diverse province in China. It is quite possibly the most beautiful part of the country, and also the most culturally rich. Each ethnic minority has its own distinct cooking ingredients, aromas and flavours – all brought together for the first time in this unique cookbook.

  • The Taste of Old Hong Kong: Recipes and memories from 30 years on the China coast

    HK$158.00
    • USD: US$20.18
    • CNY: CN¥146.01
    • GBP: £16.21
    • EUR: €18.99
    • AUD: AU$31.32
    • CAD: CA$27.82
    • JPY: ¥3,112

     

    Reminiscences and recipes of favourite international and regional dishes from households, fancy restaurants and back lanes which you can enjoy today in Hong Kong, that classy old gal who will forever reign as the Queen of Cuisine for all who knew her when she was the jewel of the British Empire.

    Bestselling author Fred Schneiter shares a nostalgic romp back into that earlier era which has faded into treasured memories and photos. But we didn’t lose it all. The tantalizing cuisines and tempting cookpot scents of that earlier time remain. Many of them await you here.

    If you’ve ever daydreamed about what it might be like to drop back into an earlier, less hurried time in an exotic corner of the world, this is how we found the food, the friends and the fun in old Hong Kong.