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Foreign Communities in Hong Kong - A Book Review

Everyone knows of Hong Kong. Many of us remember Hong Kong before it went back to the Chinese. How many of us really know about the development of British Hong Kong? Very few. That is why Cindy Yik-yi Chu brought us Foreign Communities in Hong Kong, 1840s-1950s.

In this book Chu dives immediately into the British community that existed on the island. The reason for British acquisition, the Opium Wars, is very briefly discussed. This is not a book about the British obtaining the island, but how the island developed with foreign influence afterwards. Chu then discusses the British attitude toward the island and those that lived there, the unknown German community that rose up, the influence of the Catholic Church, the Japanese presence before World War II, life during the war, and the journey to being back in Chinese hands.

This is not a huge book, but it is full of information. Each chapter has a set of notes at the end for further research. Each chapter is also divided into many sections to break up the reading and help in using the book for research. For an academic book, it reads very easily and doesn't require a degree just to understand it.

One of the best parts I loved about it is the very large section, "Suggestions for Further Reading." This is a researchers dream for any book to have.

I was disappointed that beyond the subheadings within the chapters there was very little for us visual learners. There were no images such as maps, charts, or pictures to help drive the words home.

Note: This book was part of a college course and was obtained through the schools library.

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