Filled with a whimsical sense of humor and fantastic fables of faraway lands, this book, orignally written for children, offers a Western perspective on China in the mid-19th century. Using vivid detail and excellent cartoons, it demonstrates the clash between the Marco Polo-inspired view of a mythically serene China and the political realities of the Opium War, including the harsh, colonial era. A delightful mix of fact and fancy, it encapsulates the ethos of an era when the West saw China as a remote and unspoiled empire, ripe for the picking.
Peter Parley was a pen name coined by the highly popular and influential American author Samuel Griswold Goodrich and was often used by imitators. The author of this book, whose real identity remains unknown, was one such imposter. Andrew Chubb is the editor of Earnshaw Books' Classic series.