The Chinese Opium Wars - Book Report/Review Example

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Jack Beeching’s The Chinese Opium Wars (published in 1975 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers in New York) is a historical account of the Opium Wars between the Chinese and the British due to an unprecedented dispute over trade relations of the mentioned nations. The book…
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Download file to see previous pages It is the thematic titles per chapter that is very catching about the book. Each of the nine chapter titles presents focal ideas or key players that are directly involved in the content of every chapter.
Generally, the writing style of Beeching is very light and comprehensible. The approach of the author to his account of this particular historical event is comparable to that of the scholarly history books about China. What differentiates this book from every other history book is that the author seemed to be retelling the series of events in a fictional manner. His style is comparable to the style of writers and authors of fictional literary works. He delves into the important and less important scenes that are crucial to the build-up of events leading to the focal point of the chapter’s thesis. He presents the historical actors in each chapter like every other character in a fictitious work. The author delivers straightforward, important and brief information to these historical actors which provide the readers with ample knowledge on each personality yet maintain coherence of the events. Beeching’s historical accounts is, therefore, a traditional one, but deviates from the dragging and tiring record of people, places, dates and events.
For example, in the first chapter entitled “The Red Barbarians,” the author focuses on the British delegation to the Chinese Emperor on their quest to overhaul the trade relations of the Chinese and the British empires. Beeching’s attention to detail is of high regard. The British delegation, under Lord Macartney, travels to the Royal hunting lodge at Jehol. The author describes the magnificent pieces of tributary gifts for the Emperor as a way to persuade the monarch into agreement with the British offer. The transition of events and the successful descriptive characterization of the scenes provide a very visual account of how history unfolded during those times that led to the Opium Wars.
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