The Last Embassy
From the acclaimed author of The Gunpowder Age, a book that casts new light on the history of China and the West at the turn of the nineteenth century
George Macartney's disastrous 1793 mission to China plays a central role in the prevailing narrative of modern Sino-European relations. Summarily dismissed…
Why read it?
1 author picked The Last Embassy as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
In 1795 a group of Dutch diplomats traveled across China from a port in the south to Beijing in the north. At this time, few Westerners had ever traveled beyond the coast, so when the embassy returned to the Netherlands, several members wrote accounts of their unusual journey. This book gives an enormous amount of fascinating detail about what it was like to travel in imperial China, and about the lifestyles in various regions of the country. At times the diplomats enjoyed luxury and refinement, but they also had to endure hardship and mistreatment. The book evokes what daily life…
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