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Drugging a Nation

Samuel Merwin

Book Overview: 

Drugging a Nation is a journalistic reveal of the extent to which the British Empire was culpable in the dissemination and subsequent near total addiction to opium of the Chinese people in the nineteenth century. So weak did it make China, that is was invaded multiple times, often by the British Empire itself looking to make its treaty ports stronger, but by other world powers too. In the end, this resulted in the complete collapse of the empire. The book describes in detail the extent to which opium had taken over the lives of the ordinary Chinese person and how it worked.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .s still unrecognized by either government as a legitimate commodity, while, indeed, the Chinese, however chastened and humiliated, were still making desperate if indirect[Pg 46] efforts to keep it out of the country and the English were making strong efforts to get it into the country, is a problem I leave to subtler minds. The upshot was, of course, that the “lasting peace” did not last. Within fifteen years there was another war. By the second treaty (that of Tientsin, 1858) Britain secured 4,000,000 taels of indemnity money (about $3,000,000), the opening of five more treaty ports, toleration for the Christian religion, and the admission of opium under a specified tariff. The Tientsin Treaty legalized Christianity and opium. China had defied the laws of trade, and had learned her lesson. It had been a costly lesson—$24,000,000 in money, thousands of lives, the fixing on the race of a soul-blighting vice, the loss of some of her best seaports, more, the. . . Read More

Community Reviews

An interesting book which gives first hand insight into the opium problem in 19th century China. It was written in 1907 so you will not learn how it all ends. But if you want a first hand account of what it was like in China at the turn of the century this is a great book.

Seems like good investigative journalism

This book offers some understanding as to the initial source of Chinese distrust of the west today (that was subsequently magnified by our attitude towards them in the period 1930-47). This is a grotesque story and we have but ourselves to blame.

A rather good book about how "Christian" values of the west Indian company drugged a nation. Hong Kong was given to UK as result of the opium wars and other interesting details why the Chinese are afraid of western interference. Is because of our western actions that today they live in Communist reg

Absolutely brilliant read. If you want to understand the current Chinese stance on Hong Kong, read this book, then do some further reading on the Opium Wars. Written just over a hundred years ago, it is staggering to think how much things have changed in the time since.

Quite an interesting and eye-opening look at China in the late nineteenth century. It's amazing how since those days when its population was more or less debilitated with opium addiction, it has risen to become one of the most potentially threatening nations in the world.

This is a journalist's expose and reads like it, like one of those rushed out books that come out. It thus leans sometimes too heavily on idle thinking, rather than actual revelation.

But, for the most part, this is a complete and detailed expose on the British Government's culpability in the virtual

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