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From award-winning and bestselling author Taras Grescoe comes a highly compelling and bestselling account of the high life in Shanghai just before the Second World War On the eve of the Second World War, the foreign-controlled port of Shanghai was the rendezvous point for many of the 20th century’s most outlandish adventurers, who all congregated under the watchful eye of the fabulously wealthy Sir Victor Sassoon. Emily Hahn was a legendary New Yorker writer who would cover China for nearly 50 years and play an integral part in opening Asia up to the West. But at the height of the Depression, “Mickey” Hahn had just arrived in Shanghai, nursing a broken heart after a disappointing affair with an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter. At Sassoon’s glamorous Cathay Hotel, Hahn is absorbed into the social swirl of expats drawn to pre-war China, among them Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, Harold Acton and the colourful gangster Morris “Two-Gun” Cohen, who once lived in Saskatoon and Edmonton and later retired to Montreal. When she meets Zau Sinmay, a Chinese poet from an illustrious family, she discovers first-hand the real Shanghai: a city of rich colonials, triple agents, opium smokers, displaced Chinese peasants and increasingly desperate White Russian and Jewish refugees. But danger lurks on the horizon and Mickey barely makes it out alive when the brutal Japanese occupation destroys the seductive world of pre-war Shanghai and Mao Tse-tung’s Communists come to power. With his trademark style and verve, Taras Grescoe brings this rich history to life in all its glorious, larger-than-life detail.
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