First published in 1928, the author aimed to to write this brief history of the International Settlement of Shanghai.
He failed to realize the difficulty of the task. Messrs. George Lanning and Samuel Couling gathered a large amount of material concerning the early days, but no one continued what they began, and therefore a good deal of spade work became necessary.
Many books have been consulted. A list of which is published at the end of the volume, and the columns of the North-China Herald have proved invaluable.
Another difficulty presented itself in regard to the public for which he was writing. He tried to bear in mind that it was for a larger public than for the residents of Shanghai. Many incidents might be of interest to those who live in the Settlement but would not be of much importance to the public at large. By some, probably, the criticism will be raised that the book lacks local colors, while others will perhaps object that too much reference has been made to matters that are of no concern to the rest of the world. It was hard to please the tastes of both classes.
As the book developed several things became apparent. It was evident that the history of Shanghai was difficult to condense, and that there was room for a bigger volume than this. There are so many details that it would have been easier to have depicted it on a larger canvas.
One also realized that in order to understand what has happened in Shanghai, considerable reference to Chinese contemporary history was necessary, and there was always a temptation to wander away from what was strictly the history of Shanghai to that of China.
Please note that this book includes no photos and the original copy lasts for 350 pages.
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