cover image Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Jan Morris. Random House (NY), $22.5 (359pp) ISBN 978-0-394-55097-8

Overlooking one of the world's finest natural harbors, the crowded, glittering, hilly British crown colony of Hong Kong is a major banking, commercial, industrial and transportation center. In this well-written albeit overly detailed overview, noted Welsh travel writer Morris alternates chapters on Hong Kong's history with descriptions of its geography, economy, politics and society, interspersing word-portraits of some of its leading rulers and entrepreneurs. The author also assesses changes likely to occur before 1997, when the colony is scheduled to be returned to China, as well as after the transfer of power. Unfortunately, the British have declined to give political power to the people or to keep them properly informed, according to Morris. There is much more here than most American readers will want to know. (Jan.)