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

Colossus Unsung – the Life of Edward Selby Little

Posted: April 16th, 2012 | 8 Comments »

A book I noticed on Xlibris – a bit worrying as I assume being published by Xlibris means it couldn’t get published anywhere else. Anyway Little was an interesting character who does deserve a biography as his life covered an interesting time for foreigners in China. I don’t know why it’s called anything quite as grand as Colossus Unsung though!

Edward Selby Little was an extraordinary Victorian who lived through the reign of four monarchs and affected events on three continents. The loose cannon feared by all administrations, he faced down Chinese bandits and British bureaucrats alike to change the course of history. Yet, incredibly, his legacy is almost unheard of, his story untold. Truly, until now, a colossus unsung. The author is an award-winning journalist and investigative reporter who spent several years researching the life of this incredible character.

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8 Comments on “Colossus Unsung – the Life of Edward Selby Little”

  1. 1 Jason said at 2:37 pm on September 30th, 2014:

    I’ve read the whole book, it’s a sad story, firstly working for god, then for a big company, thirdly for OZ government, because he was a great person, some red eyes did’t enjoy him, in his late sixty, chose New Zealand for his last resout, this time worked for himself, bulit a seaside mansion,
    not too long he fareweledl the earth. Nowday that buliding becomes a community center, no clue shows a former resident, I totally understand the title”Colossus unsung”, perhaps only god knows him.

  2. 2 Simone said at 6:53 am on October 7th, 2015:

    Every morning I walk out of my front door and sometimes (not that often I have to admit) I glance at his photograph sitting between the two Chinese Dynasty leaders (the end of an era) and wonder how I can ever make a difference to our world the way he did in his way in his time. I get the feeling, as you rightly say, he was known fully only by God. Or at the very least he would have liked to be! I am proud to be his great great granddaughter.

  3. 3 Simone said at 7:22 am on October 7th, 2015:

    I have always been fascinated with his role in developing the mountain retreat of Kuling. First its role as a retreat from the heat of the plains Shanghai … My grandmother would not have survived (and hence I wouldn’t be here now!) is he hadn’t! So afraid he was that she would die in the heat, that he took her up to the mountain for “cooling” or “Kuling”. Later came the Americans and the writers .. Pearl someone who wrote a best seller .. When I finally have the time (or courage!) to write a book, I always fancied I would rent a house in Kuling and write from there. Our family photographs in the Royal Geographical Society ( safest place) tell many stories and show wonderful tales of life then and I long to go and see the places they swam in… Now most of all I long to see the Bell or some such monument which symbolises the five (or so) religions which somehow peacefully co-existed at that time. How some far off monument can reflect a concept very dear to my heart now amazes me. Anyway enough waffle from me … I just happened to be googling my great great grandfather who “pops” into my mind from time to time and I saw this blog for the first time.

  4. 4 Jennifer Whitman said at 6:40 am on November 28th, 2015:

    I am proud to be his great granddaughter. I am thankful for Bob Malloy’s work, which has brought my great grandfather to life for me. God had his days in His hands, as He has had mine, and on the other side we shall know all. Meantime, I am grateful for this book.

  5. 5 Marc Sun from China said at 8:04 pm on January 5th, 2016:

    You are a great person, Edward little. Thank you for what you had done for Chinese people in China. More and more people will remenber and admire you.

  6. 6 Stanley Crawford said at 1:49 am on April 14th, 2019:

    I would like to contact Jennifer Whitman to inform her what the un-Reverend Edward Litle did to my great grandmother (Caroline maddock Hart), after making “ESL” power-of-attorney over her late husband’s business interests in China. ESL later selling off these interests and pocketing the monies = theft and leaving my great grandmother a pauper to raise seven children, alone.

  7. 7 Maureen Allen (previously Rustichelli) said at 12:08 pm on November 15th, 2019:

    I would like to contact Bob Molloy to say hello, to obtain a copy of Colossus Unsung, and to get his response to Stanley Crawford’s comments regarding ESL’s “theft” of Caroline’s monies – something I can hardly believe.

  8. 8 Paul French said at 7:37 pm on December 3rd, 2019:

    Maureen – sorry, I’m afraid i think Bob Molloy died in 2015 in New Zealand. I can try and put you in touch with Stanley Crawford if you are interested in following up the story he suggests concerning Little?

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