The book is a compilation of twenty-six biographical accounts from the entire spectrum of the Shanghai Baghdadi community, from the strictly observant to the wholly secular, as well as the moneyed, middle-class and poor men and women who made the port of Shanghai their home.
This ground breaking book provides the opportunity for genuine self-expression to members of the community who have so far not been heard, and amongst them, those who have since passed away. The narrative offers perspectives of personalities whose lives were shaped by crucial historical events, and fresh insights into the day-to-day lives of this remarkable community who lived through the major cross-roads of China’s history. Using previously unseen diaries and archival material, the editor has written five biographies, unveiling new perspectives and details of the lives of Sir Victor Sassoon and the family of Sir Elly Kadoorie.
The diverse narrative approaches of these biographical accounts piece together an integrated collection, warts and all, of this mercantile community, documenting their varied experiences in coping with the vicissitudes and challenges of life in twentieth century China. Never-before-seen photographs illustrate the lives and times of these individuals and the magnificent city of Shanghai.