26 August 2016

Non-fiction in brief: Mall City: Hong Kong’s Dreamworlds of Consumption, edited by Stefan Al; Upbeat: The Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq by Paul McAlindin

reviewed by Peter Gordon

Mall City: Hong Kong’s Dreamworlds of Consumption, edited by Stefan Al

The colorful and positive book serves and feels much like a sequel to Cities Without Ground: A Hong Kong Guidebook by Adam Frampton, Jonathan D Solomon and Clara Wong with whom it shares at least one contributor. [more...]


24 August 2016

The Emperor and the Spy: The Secret Alliance to Prevent World War II by Stan S Katz

reviewed by Francis P Sempa

Several years ago, Stan Katz, an owner of antiquarian bookstores, came into possession of some of Colonel Sidney Mashbir’s official documents, library and personal keepsakes. He has since put them to good use. Katz’s book The Emperor and the Spy is reminiscent of Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, except in Katz’s fine work of historical fiction the protagonist, Colonel Mashbir, unlike Wouk’s Pug Henry, was a real person who well-served his country during and between the two world wars of the twentieth century. [more...]


22 August 2016

Shanghai Grand: Forbidden Love and International Intrigue in a Doomed World by Taras Grescoe

reviewed by Nigel Collett

Of all human societies of which we have knowledge, Shanghai in the late 1930s perhaps comes closest to the sci-fi dystopias beloved of Hollywood, societies in which the gilded, sophisticated inhabitants of a fabulous city live surrounded but cut off from wasted badlands, served by an abject underclass living as far from the light of day as it does from the consciousness of its masters. For inside the self-policed boundaries of Shanghai’s International Settlement and its French Concession lay both one of the greatest concentrations of wealth on the face of the planet and some of the most sordid scenes of human misery. [more...]


26 August 2016

Non-fiction in brief: Mall City: Hong Kong’s Dreamworlds of Consumption, edited by Stefan Al; Upbeat: The Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq by Paul McAlindin

reviewed by Peter Gordon

Mall City: Hong Kong’s Dreamworlds of Consumption, edited by Stefan Al

The colorful and positive book serves and feels much like a sequel to Cities Without Ground: A Hong Kong Guidebook by Adam Frampton, Jonathan D Solomon and Clara Wong with whom it shares at least one contributor. [more...]


24 August 2016

The Emperor and the Spy: The Secret Alliance to Prevent World War II by Stan S Katz

reviewed by Francis P Sempa

Several years ago, Stan Katz, an owner of antiquarian bookstores, came into possession of some of Colonel Sidney Mashbir’s official documents, library and personal keepsakes. He has since put them to good use. Katz’s book The Emperor and the Spy is reminiscent of Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, except in Katz’s fine work of historical fiction the protagonist, Colonel Mashbir, unlike Wouk’s Pug Henry, was a real person who well-served his country during and between the two world wars of the twentieth century. [more...]


22 August 2016

Shanghai Grand: Forbidden Love and International Intrigue in a Doomed World by Taras Grescoe

reviewed by Nigel Collett

Of all human societies of which we have knowledge, Shanghai in the late 1930s perhaps comes closest to the sci-fi dystopias beloved of Hollywood, societies in which the gilded, sophisticated inhabitants of a fabulous city live surrounded but cut off from wasted badlands, served by an abject underclass living as far from the light of day as it does from the consciousness of its masters. For inside the self-policed boundaries of Shanghai’s International Settlement and its French Concession lay both one of the greatest concentrations of wealth on the face of the planet and some of the most sordid scenes of human misery. [more...]