Shanghai Grand: Forbidden Love and International Intrigue in a Doomed World

Taras Grescoe. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-250-04971-1
Journalist Grescoe’s narrative is a keenly observant, sometimes soulful portrait of Emily “Mickey” Hahn, an American writer who lived in Shanghai from 1935 to 1943, and of China’s political and social realities during that tumultuous period in its history: war with Japan, encroaching communism, and widespread squalor and opium addiction. Grescoe also portrays the unique culture and personalities of Shanghai. Mickey, a Missouri-born free spirit, arrived in China in 1935 during a stopover en route to Africa, and stayed for eight years. Her 52 books and numerous New Yorker vignettes made her famous; her pet gibbon, penchant for cigars, and affair with a married man made her infamous. She was linked with Sir Victor Sassoon, the wealthy owner of Shanghai’s Cathay Hotel; the “decadent” poet Zau Sinmay, who initiated her voracious opium addiction; and Charles Boxer, who became her husband after a scandalous affair. Grescoe (Straphanger) incorporates a plethora of detail about events, including the Battle of Shanghai, Black Saturday, and WWII, and famous figures such as Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong. This is a wonderful book, but the voluminous detail might make it slow going for some readers. Agent: Michelle Tessler, Tessler Literary Agency. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/21/2016
Release date: 06/14/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-1-4668-5067-5
Ebook - 480 pages - 978-1-4434-2555-1
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-1-250-13020-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-5318-8958-6
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