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When America First Met China with Eric Jay Dolin

  • Broadcast in History
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Listen in to Fieldstone Common this week as host Marian Pierre-Louis talks to Eric Jay Dolin, author of When America First Met China.

Brilliantly illuminating one of the least understood areas of American history, bestselling author Eric Jay Dolin now traces our fraught relationship with China back to its roots: the unforgiving nineteenth-century seas that separated a brash, rising naval power from a battered ancient empire.

It is a prescient fable for our time, one that surprisingly continues to shed light on our modern relationship with China. Indeed, the furious trade in furs, opium, and bêche-de-mer-a rare sea cucumber delicacy-might have catalyzed America's emerging economy, but it also sparked an ecological and human rights catastrophe of such epic proportions, the reverberations can still be felt today.

Peopled with fascinating characters-from the "Financier of the Revolution" Robert Morris to the Chinese emperor Qianlong, who considered foreigners inferior beings-When America First Met China is a page-turning saga that explores a time many years ago when the desire for trade and profit first brought America to China's door.

Much of Dolin’s writing reflects his interest in wildlife, the environment, and American history. His books include Fur, Fortune, and  Empire: The EpicHistory of the Fur Trade in America (W. W. Norton), Leviathan: The History of  Whaling in America (W. W. Norton), the Smithsonian Book of National Wildlife Refuges, Snakehead: A Fish Out of Water, and Political Waters, a history of the degradation and cleanup of Boston Harbor.  

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LIVE: THURSDAY, 1 November 2012 at 1:00pm EST