Hong Kong University Press has been electronificating (or whatever) it’s back catalogue and so my book Carl Crow: A Tough Old China Hand is now available in a Kindle edition…
Carl Crow arrived in Shanghai in 1911 and made the city his home for the next quarter of a century, working there as a journalist, newspaper proprietor, and groundbreaking adman. He also did stints as a hostage negotiator, emergency police sergeant, gentleman farmer, go-between for the American government, and propagandist. As his career progressed, so did the fortunes of Shanghai. The city transformed itself from a dull colonial backwater when Crow arrived, to the thriving and ruthless cosmopolitan metropolis of the 1930s when Crow wrote his pioneering book – 400 Million Customers – that encouraged a flood of businesses into the China market in an intriguing foreshadowing of today’s boom.
Among Crow’s exploits were attending the negotiations in Peking that led to the fall of the Qing Dynasty, getting a scoop on Japanese interference in China during the First World War, negotiating the release of a group of Western hostages from a mountain bandit lair, and being one of the first Westerners to journey up the Burma Road during the Second World War. He met most of the major figures of the time, including Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek, the Soong sisters, and Mao’s second-in-command Zhou En-lai. During the Second World War, he worked for American intelligence alongside Owen Lattimore, coordinating US policies to support China against Japan.
The story of this one exceptional man gives us a rich view of Shanghai and China during those tempestuous years. This is a book for all with an interest in Shanghai and China of this period, and those with an interest in the development of journalism and business there.