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Hong Kong

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  117 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In its last days under British rule, the Crown Colony of Hong Kong is the world's most exciting city, at once fascinating and exasperating, a tangle of contradictions. It is a dazzling amalgam of conspicuous consumption and primitive poverty, the most architecturally incongruous yet undeniably beautiful urban panorama of all. World-renowned travel writer Jan Morris offers ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 4th 1997 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1900)
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This book is a mix of history and some contemporary portraits of colonial Hong Kong. The book focuses almost exclusively on British personages and mundane colonial details and really never gets around to exploring the Chineseness. I was really disappointed by this. The book is also dated, curiously fixates on arcane and somewhat random details and quotes and does not shed much light on the actual people of Hong Kong (aside from the aristocracy and business elites). Barely got through it on my tr ...more
Lois Wolffe
Is there any better travel writer than Jan Morris?

Reading the first chapters of this book before I travelled to Hong Kong was exciting - all the sights and sounds I could anticipate... and all that history I was absorbing before I walked those streets.

But then reading the middle of it while I was there was even better. I was in Hong Kong through work, and was at many meetings discussing HK's history, and how the Scots had influenced and moulded it. Although there is little in JM's book on this p
Jan Morris is my favorite historian, in this travel book she visits Hong Kong shortly before 1997 when it is about to be turned over to the Chinese government. Morris is a great historian of the British empire, many of her books focusing on Queen Victoria's 1897 diamond jubilee. Which Morris repeatedly argues was the very high point of the Empire, where the institution reached its peak. If this is true then 1997 with its turnover of Hong Kong to Red China might be seen at the end of the Empire. ...more
Matt Seidholz
Jan Morris called Britain's handling of the 1997 handover of Hong Kong "sufficiently stylish". I think that's meant to be faint praise.

Funnily enough, that's the exact phrase I'd use to describe her book. But my praise isn't faint.

Morris has a lot of love for word-play and a lot of love for Hong Kong. The prose is luxurious and the history enlightening.

A powerful strain of colonial nostalgia pervades the book. Morris never lets us forget, though, Britain's exploitative history with China, and th
Even though the cover of the edition I have sports the subtitle ‘Epilogue to an Empire’, the correct subtitle to Jan Morris’ Hong Kong is ‘The End of an Empire’, more accurate in that even this 1990 updating still long preceded the handing over of the colony to mainland China in 1997, a truer encapsulation of the eclipse of Empire. What this revision does do, however, is to take into account the social and cultural repercussions of the Tiananmen Square massacre which took place in the year which ...more
Jamie Elgie
Beautifully written. Easy to get through. Liked it a lot.
I wanted very much to like this book because I adore the author, but it just wasn't a hit for me. It's a bad sign when I find myself reading the New York Times health page to get my reading fix, instead of opening my current book. The best thing about this book was also the worst thing: too much detail. In certain places the level of detail was exciting, bringing the feel of Hong Kong right into my head. In far more places it made my mind wander, and was quite effective at putting me to sleep at ...more
This is the book that hooked me on this author. Jan has a fun style, and a great eye for the real pleasures of travel. I recommend if you like travel literature.
Justin Howe
A fascinating read. I'll need to track down a later edition to see whether Morris updated the final chapter.
Greatly enjoyed this book especially since I read this right before a trip to HK.
great travel literature
i wish i had gone when i had the opportunity then
Trevor Poe
A great book about one of my favorite cities.
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Jan Morris previously wrote under the name James Morris.

Jan Morris is a British historian, author and travel writer. Morris was educated at Lancing College, West Sussex, and Christ Church, Oxford, but is Welsh by heritage and adoption. Before 1970 Morris published under her former name, "James Morris", and is known particularly for the Pax Britannica trilogy, a history of the British Empire, and
More about Jan Morris...
Venice Trieste and The Meaning of Nowhere Heaven's Command: An Imperial Progress (The Pax Britannica Trilogy, #1) Conundrum Pax Britannica: Climax of an Empire

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