"Shanghai, 1930s. The Cathay Hotel, on the city's famous waterfront, was one of the most glamorous in the world. Built by Victor Sassoon - an enterprising billionaire playboy - it housed celebrities of the caliber of Charlie Chaplin and Wallis Simpson, while thousands of tourists departed from Trieste, Hamburg, London, Seattle, Vancouver disembarked from the new, glittering ocean liners to discover a city that boasted skyscrapers and a skyline comparable to those of Chicago. The merit of so much modernity was above all of two Jewish families, who thrived in China from the first Nineteenth century, rivals in wealth and power: the Kadoorie and, indeed, the Sassoons.
Both originally from Baghdad, they have remained at the top of the country's affairs for over a century, starting to profit from the opium wars, surviving the Japanese occupation, courting Chiang Kai-shek, resisting to the last to save their empires from the communist revolution. At the height of World War II they teamed up to save eighteen thousand Jewish refugees fleeing Nazism. The opulent buildings they built and the thriving businesses they started continue to define Shanghai and Hong Kong to this day. Jonathan Kaufman reconstructs a too long ignored history, ambitions, rivalries, political intrigues and tenacity of these protagonists of the economic boom that opened China to the world. "
Format: 14x21 cm
Foliation: 352 pp.
Release date: January 20, 2022
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