Paul French

Latest from Paul French

On Chinese islands next to Macau, great stories of pirates, typhoons and war played out

Transformed today, the once verdant islands of Dom João, Montanha and Lapa, later Xiao Hengqin, Da Hengqin and Wanzai, had a tumultuous history of pirates and war.

Transformed today, the once verdant islands of Dom João, Montanha and Lapa, later Xiao Hengqin, Da Hengqin and Wanzai, had a tumultuous history of pirates and war.

On Chinese islands next to Macau, great stories of pirates, typhoons and war played out
21 Nov 2021 - 1:15PM
To understand Tokyo, grasp the impact of Japan’s occupation after its defeat in World War II, says the author of a neo-noir crime trilogy set in the city in the 1940s

With Tokyo Redux, last of his neo-noir trilogy set in occupied post-war Japan, David Peace exorcises his Tokyo demons.

With Tokyo Redux, last of his neo-noir trilogy set in occupied post-war Japan, David Peace exorcises his Tokyo demons.

To understand Tokyo, grasp the impact of Japan’s occupation after its defeat in World War II, says the author of a neo-noir crime trilogy set in the city in the 1940s
23 Aug 2021 - 6:30PM
Spies in Hong Kong: from mainland Chinese agents and Japanese infiltrators to Taiwanese defectors and local pirates, a history of espionage in the SAR

Spies have been part of Hong Kong’s landscape since the earliest days of British rule, with everyone from the Spanish to the Japanese stirring up trouble in the city.

Spies have been part of Hong Kong’s landscape since the earliest days of British rule, with everyone from the Spanish to the Japanese stirring up trouble in the city.

Spies in Hong Kong: from mainland Chinese agents and Japanese infiltrators to Taiwanese defectors and local pirates, a history of espionage in the SAR
20 Jun 2021 - 2:45PM
Review | Emma Larkin’s ode to Thailand’s capital city, Bangkok, is a dystopian story of worlds within worlds

Novelist paints an intricate portrait of contemporary life in the Thai capital in Comrade Aeon’s Field Guide to Bangkok, where the lives of a varied cast of characters become intertwined and unravel.

Novelist paints an intricate portrait of contemporary life in the Thai capital in Comrade Aeon’s Field Guide to Bangkok, where the lives of a varied cast of characters become intertwined and unravel.

Emma Larkin’s ode to Thailand’s capital city, Bangkok, is a dystopian story of worlds within worlds
14 Jun 2021 - 2:45PM
The Shanghai Academy of Art: the school that gave the city its early 20th-century aesthetic

Established in 1912 by a 16-year-old prodigy, the Shanghai Academy of Art and its graduates came to define the East-meets-West aesthetic of the city in its early 20th century heyday. Today, it’s buildings face demolition.

Established in 1912 by a 16-year-old prodigy, the Shanghai Academy of Art and its graduates came to define the East-meets-West aesthetic of the city in its early 20th century heyday. Today, it’s buildings face demolition.

The Shanghai Academy of Art: the school that gave the city its early 20th-century aesthetic
25 Apr 2021 - 11:15AM
Myth busting: Shenzhen’s sleazy past as short-lived gangster and gambling hub Shum Chun

Behind the popular myth of a great city bursting forth from a humble fishing village is the true tale of Shum Chun, a place of casinos, trains, triads and the Celestial King of the South.

Behind the popular myth of a great city bursting forth from a humble fishing village is the true tale of Shum Chun, a place of casinos, trains, triads and the Celestial King of the South.

Myth busting: Shenzhen’s sleazy past as short-lived gangster and gambling hub Shum Chun
20 Jan 2021 - 11:50AM
How White Russian ballet dancers sparked a revolution in China’s dance scene

After Anna Pavlova enchanted Shanghai audiences, every foreign mother wanted her daughter trained by Russian dancers, whose influence on modern Chinese ballet would be long lasting.

After Anna Pavlova enchanted Shanghai audiences, every foreign mother wanted her daughter trained by Russian dancers, whose influence on modern Chinese ballet would be long lasting.

How White Russian ballet dancers sparked a revolution in China’s dance scene
1 Nov 2020 - 2:51PM
Review | China’s Good War: Rana Mitter explores how national – and nationalist – narratives shape history

Director of the China Centre at Oxford University Rana Mitter explores the way that China’s World War II narrative has changed over time.

Director of the China Centre at Oxford University Rana Mitter explores the way that China’s World War II narrative has changed over time.

China’s Good War: Rana Mitter explores how national – and nationalist – narratives shape history
5 Nov 2020 - 9:26PM
Forget 2020. For Hong Kong, 1937 was the year from hell

How an autumn of crises in the 1930s left Hong Kong battered and bruised but not broken.

How an autumn of crises in the 1930s left Hong Kong battered and bruised but not broken.

Forget 2020. For Hong Kong, 1937 was the year from hell
9 Aug 2020 - 10:41AM
Review | The Last Kings of Shanghai is a history of the Sassoons and Kadoories, two powerful Jewish families who helped shape China

Author Jonathan Kaufman vividly recounts the rise, and the missteps, of the phenomenally successful Sassoon and Kadoorie dynasties, who followed the British from India to Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Author Jonathan Kaufman vividly recounts the rise, and the missteps, of the phenomenally successful Sassoon and Kadoorie dynasties, who followed the British from India to Shanghai and Hong Kong.

The Last Kings of Shanghai is a history of the Sassoons and Kadoories, two powerful Jewish families who helped shape China
5 Nov 2020 - 9:18PM
Review | The story of Swire, British ‘hong’ in Hong Kong: a tale of empire, enterprise and family feuds

Robert Bickers’ history of the global company built by John Swire, China Bound: John Swire & Sons and Its World, 1816-1980, is not your average corporate compendium.

Robert Bickers’ history of the global company built by John Swire, China Bound: John Swire & Sons and Its World, 1816-1980, is not your average corporate compendium.

The story of Swire, British ‘hong’ in Hong Kong: a tale of empire, enterprise and family feuds
5 Nov 2020 - 9:02PM
China’s plight under Japanese occupation – how artist Martha Sawyers drew America’s attention to it

Martha Sawyers eschewed pre-war tropes of other Western artists depicting Chinese people as weak and backward.

Martha Sawyers eschewed pre-war tropes of other Western artists depicting Chinese people as weak and backward.

China’s plight under Japanese occupation – how artist Martha Sawyers drew America’s attention to it
2 Sep 2020 - 1:48PM
Did Japan really offer Portugal US$100 million for Macau in 1935?

The Portuguese colony’s potential as a hub for transpacific flights came to light in the 1930s – as did a mystery bid to buy it outright.

The Portuguese colony’s potential as a hub for transpacific flights came to light in the 1930s – as did a mystery bid to buy it outright.

Did Japan really offer Portugal US$100 million for Macau in 1935?
8 Feb 2020 - 2:32PM
Christmas in Peking’s foreign colony: ice skating and overindulgence but no turkey

While the local population was busy preparing for Lunar New Year, the community in the city’s Legation Quarter feted the festive period in style.

While the local population was busy preparing for Lunar New Year, the community in the city’s Legation Quarter feted the festive period in style.

Christmas in Peking’s foreign colony: ice skating and overindulgence but no turkey
29 Jan 2021 - 6:30PM
American hunter who hastened demise of the South China tiger, and how Mao’s assault on nature finished it off

William Lord Smith and trophy hunters like him pushed the big cat towards extinction in China and Southeast Asia in the first half of the 20th century; he wrote a self-regarding memoir that glorified in the slaughter.

William Lord Smith and trophy hunters like him pushed the big cat towards extinction in China and Southeast Asia in the first half of the 20th century; he wrote a self-regarding memoir that glorified in the slaughter.

American hunter who hastened demise of the South China tiger, and how Mao’s assault on nature finished it off
9 Nov 2019 - 4:21PM
Review | Beijing Payback: Daniel Nieh paints a picture-perfect portrait of the Chinese capital’s gritty underbelly

Murder mystery turned revenge tragedy moves from the comfy confines of California to the gritty city.

Murder mystery turned revenge tragedy moves from the comfy confines of California to the gritty city.

Beijing Payback: Daniel Nieh paints a picture-perfect portrait of the Chinese capital’s gritty underbelly
15 Aug 2019 - 8:34PM
Review | Stalin’s superspy in China and Japan: champagne Communist Richard Sorge seen in a new light in An Impeccable Spy

Despite more than 100 books about him, Soviet secret agent Richard Sorge has remained an enigma. In new biography An Impeccable Spy, Owen Matthew sheds fresh light on a dedicated Bolshevik who loved wine, women and song.

Despite more than 100 books about him, Soviet secret agent Richard Sorge has remained an enigma. In new biography An Impeccable Spy, Owen Matthew sheds fresh light on a dedicated Bolshevik who loved wine, women and song.

Stalin’s superspy in China and Japan: champagne Communist Richard Sorge seen in a new light in An Impeccable Spy
14 Jun 2019 - 2:27AM
The last king of Xinjiang: how Bertram Sheldrake went from condiment heir to Muslim monarch

Bertram Sheldrake converted to Islam at the age of 15 and spent much of his fortune promoting the religion in Britain. His efforts brought him an invitation from leaders of a newly proclaimed Muslim nation in China’s far west.

Bertram Sheldrake converted to Islam at the age of 15 and spent much of his fortune promoting the religion in Britain. His efforts brought him an invitation from leaders of a newly proclaimed Muslim nation in China’s far west.

The last king of Xinjiang: how Bertram Sheldrake went from condiment heir to Muslim monarch
4 Mar 2019 - 6:23PM
How Chinese bandits’ kidnapping of a blond British bride and her pet dogs became a global news story

During the 41-day ordeal the 19-year-old Muriel ‘Tinko’ Pawley suffered ‘beastly boredom’, threatened to haunt her captors and demanded lipstick. Evelyn Waugh, fascinated by her fate, wrote a short story based on the incident.

During the 41-day ordeal the 19-year-old Muriel ‘Tinko’ Pawley suffered ‘beastly boredom’, threatened to haunt her captors and demanded lipstick. Evelyn Waugh, fascinated by her fate, wrote a short story based on the incident.

How Chinese bandits’ kidnapping of a blond British bride and her pet dogs became a global news story
10 Jan 2019 - 3:54PM
What authors from Kipling to Hemingway and Auden made of Hong Kong, good and bad

‘Asia’s world city’ long attracted some of the globe’s most celebrated writers, from Rudyard Kipling and Noël Coward to Ernest Hemingway and Ian Fleming. Author Paul French recalls what they said, good and bad, about Hong Kong.

‘Asia’s world city’ long attracted some of the globe’s most celebrated writers, from Rudyard Kipling and Noël Coward to Ernest Hemingway and Ian Fleming. Author Paul French recalls what they said, good and bad, about Hong Kong.

What authors from Kipling to Hemingway and Auden made of Hong Kong, good and bad
12 Nov 2018 - 10:27AM
Broken in the Badlands

The murder and mutilation of a pretty young blond woman in 1937 Peking left a long-forgotten paper trail, recently uncovered by author Paul French, that reveals the sad, sorry tale of mysterious gun for hire Pinfold.

The murder and mutilation of a pretty young blond woman in 1937 Peking left a long-forgotten paper trail, recently uncovered by author Paul French, that reveals the sad, sorry tale of mysterious gun for hire Pinfold.

Broken in the Badlands
23 Nov 2013 - 11:18PM
In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India
29 Oct 2006 - 12:00AM