“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Talking Old Shanghai in Arlington with Scott Tong – One More Page, Arlington VA, Monday 7pm

Posted: July 16th, 2018 | No Comments »

Delighted to be going back to One More Page in Arlington on Monday evening to talk about City of Devils and to do so with Marketplace’s Scott Tong (whose book A Village With My Name was a standout China title last year)…

Monday, July 16 @7PM

Historian Paul French in conversation w/ journalist Scott Tong (A VILLAGE WITH MY NAME) about French’s new book CITY OF DEVILS: THE TWO MEN WHO RULED THE UNDERWORLD OF SHANGHAI. Perfect for readers of Erik Larson & Karen Abbott, CITY OF DEVILS is a rags-to-riches tale of two self-made men set against a backdrop of crime and vice in the sprawling badlands of 1930s Shanghai.

More details here

 

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The City of Devils vs Francis Underwood – Politics & Prose, Washington DC, Sunday July 15, 5pm

Posted: July 15th, 2018 | No Comments »

Which administration was dirtier – the Shanghai Municipal Council in 1940 or Washington’s own Francis Underwood? Well, it has to be admitted Francis was baaad; but Shanghai was baaaader – how bad? Politics and Prose this Sunday at 5 – more details here….

This Sunday – who had the dirtier politicians, more corrupt police and worst crims? DC or the ‘Hai?

VS

Tony Keswick – taipan and boss man of the Shanghai Municipal Council

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The City of Devils Takes on The Wire – Bird in Hand Cafe-Bookstore, Charles Village, Baltimore, this Saturday, 7pm

Posted: July 14th, 2018 | No Comments »

Yea, so those Barksdale boys and Stringer Bell thought they were pretty tough but tougher than Jack Riley? Carlos Garcia? Du Yuesheng? I don’t think so and I’ll be explaining why to Baltimore this Saturday at the Bird in Hand, a delightful cafe-bookshop in the city’s Charles Village started by the good folk at the city’s longstanding great store, The Ivy Bookshop.

More Details here….

Saturday night it’s…..

Avon and Stringer….

….VS Tulsa Tough Jack Riley

 

 

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City of Devils Comes to the Big Easy – Octavia Books, New Orleans, Friday July 13, 6pm

Posted: July 12th, 2018 | No Comments »

So, at last – after vanquishing the challenge of the Barbary Coast old Shanghai finally faces a challenge – New Orleans – a city that just maybe could give old Shanghai a run for its money in the sleeze and sin stakes….we shall see….

Octavia Books at 6pm – details here

It’s the greatest ever Sin City Head-to-Head – New Orleans vs Shanghai….

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City of Devils Comes to Scottsdale – The Poisoned Pen, Thursday July 12, 7pm

Posted: July 11th, 2018 | No Comments »

Enough of the West Coast already – it’s time to head inland….Scottsdale and the amazing Poisoned Pen bookstore which, if you’ve never been, is a haven for lovers of crime writing….

Paul French signs City of Devils: The Two Men Who Ruled the Underworld of Old Shanghai

When: July 12, 2018 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Where: The Poisoned Pen
4014 N Goldwater Blvd
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
USA
Cost: Free
Contact: The Poisoned Pen Bookstore
4809472974
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City of Devils Comes to the Barbary Coast – San Francisco, Wednesday, July 11 – 6pm

Posted: July 11th, 2018 | No Comments »

The City of Devils is coming to the Barbary Coast this Wednesday to teach them a thing or two about sin and lust….

I’ll be at San Francisco’s Book Passage at 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111 on Wednesday, July 11th.

more details here

My credit card literally winces every time I see one of these bookstores I’m visiting!!

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City of Devils Comes to the City of Books – Powell’s, Portland, Tuesday July 10, 7.30pm

Posted: July 9th, 2018 | No Comments »

I’ll be at the staggering Powell’s City of Books store in Portland, Oregon this Tuesday talking old Shanghai and City of Devils. I’m delighted to be in conversation with Bill Lascher, a local journalist who wrote Eve of  Hundred Midnights, a biography of the wartime China correspondents Mel and Annalee Jacoby.

Any interest in inter-war Shanghai and China?

Anywhere near Portland?

Come and say hello….

more details here

 

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Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (1909): The Chinese Village

Posted: July 8th, 2018 | No Comments »

Whenever I come on a tour of anywhere talking about old China and books I always come across various interesting titbits I never knew that seem to suit this blog. And so it is with this July’s US book tour for City of Devils. First stop is Seattle and Elliot Bay Books. I’m staying in the University District to the north of the downtown area, around the marvellous buildings of the calm and peaceful University of Washington. I did not know that the genesis for the university’s vast campus was the site for the 1909 Yukon-Alaska EXPO, the World’s Fair aiming to highlight the Pacific Northwest, an area perhaps then more in people’s minds given it was barely a decade since the Klondike gold rush.

As with most EXPOs a large number of temporary buildings crowded the site – most were slapped up and so not meant to be permanent (as is the way with EXPOs) but a few of the major structures remained and became some of the core buildings of the UofW today.

There was a Chinese Village (sometimes referred to as a “Oriental” pavilion) and it sadly didn’t survive. Still three million people passed through it in 1909. The development and management of the Chinese Village was handled by Ah King (1863-1915), a successful Chinese merchant in Seattle. The “village” featured three buildings, including a Chinese temple, a restaurant, and a theatre with acts that changed daily. There’s a lot more details and images about the Chinese village here.

There was also a Japanese village. Ah King wasn’t expecting to make a profit though it apparently did (just about). Interestingly the Japanese village made about the same revenues as the Chinese village despite a) being paid for by the Tokyo government rather than local Japanese-American entrepreneurs and b) the fact that there were many more Japanese people than Chinese in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest in 1909.

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