With its wild, extravagant group of fossil hunters, philosophers, diplomats, dropouts, writers, explorers, missionaries and refugees, Peking's foreign community in the first half of the 20th century was as exotic as the city itself.
Always a magnet for larger-than-
Although few in number, Peking's expatriates were uniquely placed to chart the political upheavals – from the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 to the Communist victory of 1949 – that shaped modern China. Drawing on a variety of unpublished diaries and letters, Julia Boyd will tell the story of this small band of foreigners and will explore life in the walled foreign legation quarter. Based on her recent book, A Dance with the Dragon, The Vanished World of Peking’s Foreign Colony (London: I.B. Tauris, 2012), Lady Boyd’s lecture will draw a dazzling portrait of an eclectic foreign community and of China itself, one that is essential in understanding China and its attitude to foreigners today—a magnificent confection, never before told, by one of literary London’s great storytellers.
Julia Boyd is the author of The Story of Furniture, Hannah Riddell: An Englishwoman in Japan and The Excellent Doctor Blackwell, a life of the first woman physician. Lady Boyd is a former governor of the English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth and former Chairman of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Council. She is married to Sir John Boyd, a lifelong diplomat who has served as British Ambassador to Japan, Chairman of the British Museum, Chairman of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Master of Churchill College, Cambridge University. Sir John and Lady Boyd have travelled widely in Asia. They have five children and live in London and on their sheep farm in England’s Lake District.
The reception and lecture are free to the public and everyone interested in learning about China’s history during the first half of the 20th century are welcome to attend. The KC Public Library is asking everyone attending to please RSVP so an accurate count can be determined for the reception and seating arrangements. To RSVP, please Click Here (https://www.kclibrary.org/
Autographed copies of Lady Boyd’s new book “A Dance with the Dragon, The Vanished World of Peking’s Foreign Colony” will be available for purchase at the lecture courtesy of Reading Reptile. Or you may order an advanced copy directly from Reading Reptile for pick up at the lecture by calling (816) 753-0441
"Julia Boyd tells the fascinating tale of the foreign community surviving in Peking between the end of the Ching Dynasty and Mao's communist revolution. It is a great story very well told – turmoil behind, turmoil ahead and turmoil all around." – Chris Patten, Former Governor of British Hong Kong
"Based on a treasure-trove of original sources, this book gives an enthralling insight into the expatriate community in Peking during the half-century before the triumph of Mao. Anyone who wants to understand China's relationship with foreigners, today as well as yesterday, should read it." – Piers Brendon, British writer and author of The Decline and Fall of the British Empire
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