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

The Great Chronicler of South China Pirates in the 1920s & 30s – But Who Was Bok?

Posted: May 3rd, 2020 | No Comments »

If you want to know you’ll need to read the current journal of the Royal Asiatic Society China – now online here

In the early 1930s London and New York bookshops actively advertised the latest adventure stories written by the  pseudonymous author “Bok”. No details of Bok’s background, author photos or obvious clues were given to the writer’s real identity. Bok’s novels were all set in China, most featured piracy, smuggling and organised crime along the southern Chinese coast, Hong Kong and Macao. The advertising and book blurbs often played directly into the tropes of the “Yellow Peril” genre established in the preceding few decades by writers such as Sax Rohmer, M.P. Shiel, Herbert Ashbury and others. Yet, Bok’s books were seemingly well researched and appeared to be a form of narrative non-fiction with details that indicated the author had indeed spent significant time on the China Coast. Who was Bok?

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