By Paul French, Carl Crow

Initially released in 1940, this can be Carl Crow’s interesting autobiography, the tale of his greater than 25 years of adventures and luck in Shanghai through the tumultuous early many years of the 20 th century. This booklet is a story of East meets West set within the wild and heady days of inter-war China. it really is an account of ways cultures clashed, bickering over enterprise bargains and social norms as they attempted to discover how to stay with one another.

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By and large he made more money than the taipan. There was seldom any tendency to inquire into the sources of compradore prosperity. Obviously one with money in the bank was more useful than one who was heavily in debt and it was taken for granted that everyone was entitled to some perquisites aside from his regular income. Some taipans might collect secret commissions for their own personal accounts. This was not at all common but such unethical if not fraudulent practices are amply provided for in the phrases of the most generally used and highly respectable code books.

Many a wealthy family in Shanghai possessed a century ago nothing more than an acre of rice land. In every section that came under foreign influence there was that wholesome stimulation of the social as well as economic life of the people that comes with the creation of new wealth and the lifting of families from poverty to a certain degree of prosperity. The compradore was symbolic of this change. He bridged the period when foreigners didn’t know very much about the Chinese, and Chinese didn’t know very much about the foreigner.

Business was conducted according to a procedure as topsy-turvy as China itself appeared to be in Western eyes. The Chinese government had shown a celestial disdain for anything so base as trade and had set apart a little corner of crowded Canton as the one place where the foreign devils could purchase the priceless products of the empire. The British and American traders who were the only permanent residents of this strange community lived a ghetto-like existence similar to that of the Dutch on the Japanese island of Deshima.

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Foreign Devils in the Flowery Kingdom by Paul French, Carl Crow
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