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Paul French’s City of Devils Review

It is a bit tedious to recommend a book that’s already heavily promoted by the BBC, the New York Times and the Economist magazine (all of which I despise for their anti-China propaganda). Yet, this is a good man with a good book: Paul French and his City of Devils. It is also a beautiful book about old Shanghai, inside out. He makes it personal in the preface, how he researched it, resourced it. And he shows off his knowledge and advantage. Sometimes a bit too much. For the most part, however, the story-telling is precise and rich in historical details, names and places that, as many previous commentators have correctly observed, would make this book a work of pulp fiction. The gangsters are ruthless. The girls are pretty. 5/5

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