Wednesday, 12 March 2014

World War 1 in Asia / Penguin China Specials

To mark the centenary of World War 1, the world’s first truly global war, Penguin China is publishing a series of short histories of the economic and social costs it brought to China. Each book has been written by a leading expert in the field, and each is to be published in both eBook and print formats.

The Books

The Siege of Tsingtao by Jonathan Fenby, author of The Penguin History of Modern China. The Siege of Tsingtao was the only battle of WWI fought in China. The victory of the Japanese, fighting on behalf of Britain and the Allied Powers, over the Germans bolstered Japan’s global position and status, emboldening the rising power to expand its presence in China, a course of action that would set the region on a path having consequences well into the twentieth century.  The Siege of Tsingtao is available now.

The Rush from Shanghai by Robert Bickers. This explores the extreme patriotism of Shanghai’s European expats as they rushed to enlist to help their countries’ war efforts. Robert Bickers’ previous books include Empire Made Me: An Englishman Adrift in Shanghai, a wonderful account of a tragically wasted colonial life. The Rush from Shanghai will be published in April.

The Rush from Beijing by Frances Wood, a former curator of the British Library’s Chinese collections. As war rages in Europe, expats found themselves pitted against their neighbours. The Rush from Beijing will be published in May.

The Home Front by Anne Witchard. The home front here means the UK. This book explores how WW1 affected the ways China and the UK’s Chinese population were perceived and represented in the British press, popular fiction and on the stage. The Home Front will be published in August.

Bitter Labour by Mark O’Neil. The Chinese Labour Corps, often referred to as the coolie corps, cleared up the battlefields of the Western Front, and did other support work and manual labour for the British army. Members were mainly recruited by missionaries, many of whom also led the units. Bitter Labour will be published in September.

Betrayal in Paris: China’s Disappointments at the Versailles Peace Conference of 1919 and the Long Revolution that Followed by Paul French, the award-winning author of Midnight in Peking. The betrayal of China at Versailles led to the rise of the student-led May Fourth Movement and impacted the course of modern China. Betrayal in Paris will be published in October.