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The gangsters who were really officials and the officials who were really gangsters

Andrew Nathan: The ‘faceless fellow’ of Chinese espionage, 24 June 2004

Spymaster: Dai Li and the Chinese Secret Service 
by Frederic Wakeman Jr..
California, 650 pp., £49.95, May 2003, 0 520 23407 3
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... Frederic Wakeman has long been fascinated with the police and criminals of pre-Communist Shanghai, who were as often each other’s allies as opponents. His first book on the subject, Policing Shanghai 1927-37 (1995), described the self-subverting involvement of the new Kuomintang government’s municipal police bureau in both the opium trade and the civil war against the Communists ...

The Manchu Conquest

Jonathan Spence, 7 August 1986

The Great Enterprise: The Manchu Reconstruction of Imperial Order in 17th-Century China 
by Frederic Wakeman.
California, 736 pp., £63.75, January 1986, 0 520 04804 0
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... inherited the mandate of heaven by ousting one set of victorious rebels from Beijing. Frederick Wakeman’s massive study is the first attempt in any language to tackle this terrific subject in a fully comprehensive way: that is, to create a narrative analysis that pays due attention to the Ming civil and military bureaucracy, to the rural rebels and the ...

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