Secret War in Shanghai
An Untold Story of Espionage, Intrigue, and Treason in World War II
By Bernard Wasserstein
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780395985373, 352pp.)
Publication Date: September 1999
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Shanghai during World War II was a killing field of brutal competition, ideological struggle, and murderous political intrigue. China's largest and most cosmopolitan city, the intelligence capital of the Far East, was a magnet for a corrupt and bizarrely colorful group of men and women drawn to the "Paris of the East" for its seductive promise of high living and easy money. Political and sexual loyalties were for sale to the highest bidder. Allied and Axis agents, criminal gangs, and paramilitary units under various flags waged secret, savage warfare. Espionage, lurid vice, subversion, and crime came together in a lethal concoction. Nowhere on earth was the twilight zone between politics and criminality better exemplified than in this glittering and dangerous place. Secret War in Shanghai is the first book-length account of the little-known story of Shanghai in the war years. The widely respected historian Bernard Wasserstein has researched it entirely from original sources and uncovered startling new evidence of collaboration and treason by American, British, and Australian nationals. This remarkable depiction of complicity and betrayal is history at its most exciting and surprising.
Bernard Wasserstein's books include Vanishing Diaspora and The Secret Lives of Trebitsch Lincoln, which won the Golden Dagger Award for nonfiction. His is president of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and has been chairman of the History Department and dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Brandeis University. The author resides in Oxford, England.
"A richly documented and fascinating exploration of hundreds of the foreigners and secret agents who schemed and scrabbledin the turbulent city, as all pretense at law and order vanished." -- Jonathan Spence
"A Byzantine web of subterfuge, human greed, survival and death is brilliantly recounted ... Wasserstein brings to vivid life a unique period of modern history within just eighteen square miles of what was--and is--one of the most thrilling, perplexing and enigmatic cities on earth." The Times of London
"Wasserstein recounts this utterly enthralling chronicle with consummate skill, not to mention astonishingly comprehensive research. He brings to life with extraordinary clarity not only one of the most convoluted episodes of modern Chinese history, but also a cast of diverse, colorful characters and the Byzantine machinations of their lives in Shanghai, capturing with all the intensity of a blockbusting novelist the mood and intrigues of what was one of the great cities of the world." Far Eastern Economic Review