Bookshelf

When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail

When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail

In When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail, Eric Jay Dolin ’88 traces America’s relationship with China back to this country’s roots—the unforgiving 19th-century seas that separated a brash, rising naval power from a battered ancient empire. The furious trade in furs, opium and bêche-de-mer—a rare sea cucumber delicacy—might have catalyzed America’s emerging economy, but it also sparked an ecological and human rights catastrophe of epic proportions. The book, published by W. W. Norton imprint Liveright, offers up a saga of pirates, politicians, coolies and concubines, and will remind readers of Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower and Mark Kurlansky's Cod.