A timely, well-researched, and “illuminating” (The New York Times Book Review) new history of Hong Kong that reveals the untold stories of the diverse peoples who have made it a multicultural world metropolis–and whose freedoms are endangered today.
Hong Kong has always been many cities to many people: a seaport, a gateway to an empire, a place where fortunes can be dramatically made or lost, a place to disappear and reinvent oneself, and a melting pot of diverse populations from around the globe. A British Crown Colony for 155 years, Hong Kong is now ruled by the Chinese Communist Party. Here, renowned journalist Vaudine England delves into Hong Kong’s complex history and its people–diverse, multi-cultural, cosmopolitan–who have made this one-time fishing village into the world port city it is today.
Rather than a traditional history describing a town led by British Governors or a mere offshoot of a collapsing Chinese empire, Fortune’s Bazaar
is “a winning portrait of Hong Kong’s vibrant mosaic” (Publishers Weekly
). While British traders and Asian merchants had long been busy in the Indian and South East Asian seas, many people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds arrived in Hong Kong, met, and married–despite all taboos–and created a distinct community. Many of Hong Kong’s most influential figures during its first century as a city were neither British nor Chinese–they were Malay or Indian, Jewish or Armenian, Parsi or Portuguese, Eurasian or Chindian–or simply, Hong Kongers. England describes those overlooked in history, including the opium traders who built synagogues and churches; ship owners carrying gold-rush migrants; the half-Dutch, half-Chinese gentleman with two wives who was knighted by Queen Victoria; and the gardeners who settled Kowloon, the mainland peninsula facing the island of Hong Kong, and became millionaires.
A story of empire, race, and sex, Fortune’s Bazaar
presents a “fresh…essential” (Ian Buruma), “formidable and important” (The Correspondent
) history of a special place–a unique city made by diverse people of the world, whose part in its creation has never been properly told until now.