Mr. Smith Goes to China

Three Scots in the Making of Britain’s Global Empire

Jessica Hanser

View Inside Price: $45.00


July 23, 2019
256 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
20 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300236088
HC - Paper over Board

An illuminating account of global commerce in the eighteenth-century Indian Ocean world as seen through the lives of three Scottish traders
 
This book delves into the lives of three Scottish private traders—George Smith of Bombay, George Smith of Canton, and George Smith of Madras—and uses them as lenses through which to explore the inner workings of Britain’s imperial expansion and global network of trade, revealing how an unstable credit system and a financial crisis ultimately led to greater British intervention in India and China.

Jessica Hanser is assistant professor of history at Yale-NUS College in Singapore. Hanser’s doctoral dissertation, on which this book is based, won Yale University’s Hans Gatzke Prize in European History.

“An original, heroically researched, and fluent study. The careful research and synthetic contexts render the narrative riveting.”—Kathleen Wilson, Stony Brook University

"In this impressive book, Jessica Hanser opens a fresh window on the British overseas trading world. Written with verve and filled with arresting details, the book tells the true stories of three Scots, all named George Smith, and uses their experiences to cast new light on imperialism, cross-cultural trade, and global finance in the eighteenth century. This is global microhistory at its finest."—Tonio Andrade, author of The Gunpowder Age