ONLINEJonathan Reed Kaufman’s “The Last Kings of Shanghai”

Top Pick May 6, 2021 Free
Jonathan Reed Kaufman (Courtesy photo: Northeastern University)

This is an epic multigenerational story of two rival dynasties—the Sassoons and the Kadoories—that flourished in Shanghai and Hong Kong as 20th-century China surged into the modern era from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jonathan Reed Kaufman.

These two Jewish families, both originally from Baghdad, stood astride Chinese business and politics for more than 175 years, profiting from the Opium Wars; surviving Japanese occupation; courting Chiang Kai-shek; and losing nearly everything as the communists swept into power. In “The Last Kings of Shanghai,” Kaufman tells the remarkable history of how these families participated in an economic boom that opened China to the world but remained blind to the country’s deep inequality and to the political turmoil at their doorsteps. In a story stretching from Baghdad to Hong Kong to Shanghai to London, Kaufman enters the lives and minds of these ambitious men and women to forge a tale of opium smuggling, family rivalry, political intrigue and survival.

Kaufman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who has written and reported on China for 30 years for The Boston Globe, where he covered the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square; The Wall Street Journal, where he served as China bureau chief from 2002 to 2005; and Bloomberg News. He is the author of “A Hole in the Heart of the World: Being Jewish in Eastern Europe” and “Broken Alliance: The Turbulent Times Between Blacks and Jews in America,” winner of the National Jewish Book Award. He is director of the School of Journalism at Northeastern University in Boston.

In partnership with the Falmouth Jewish Congregation, the Worcester JCC and Jewish Book Council. 

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Thursday, May 6, 2021, 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

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