When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs and Money during the Age of Sail

When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs
                            and Money during the Age of Sail

Eric Jay Dolan

Tuesday, October 2
7:00 p.m.
Winchester Public Library

Jay Dolin, the author of the Boston Globe’s 2007 Best Book of the Year: Leviathan, and his 2010 Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America, returns with the story of America’s first voyages to the Middle Kingdom, where Americans and Chinese looked at each other with wonder, alarm and calculation.

When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail,” published September 10, 2012, begins at the end of the American Revolution, when America’s relationship with England was in ruins, and the country looked to the Far East for economic trade.  On July 22, 1784, the Empress of China sailed into the Pearl River in China.  Thousands of American and British vessels began sailing on the Pearl to trade for silk, tea, tea service sets and, the most profitable commodity, opium.

Dolin introduces us to some important American names—including Robert Morris, John Ledyard, John Jacob Astor, Robert Forbes, Harriet Low—and he relates the adventures of the first Chinese to come to America, who became almost carnival attractions

Dolin’s discussion of his book examines some  of the seeds of poppies, trade, greed, grandeur and an international partnership that remains uneasy and perilous.

This program is sponsored by the Winchester Historical Society, Friends of the Winchester Public Library and the John & Mary Murphy Educational Foundation.  Questions:  (781)729-6096

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