The United States began their trade with China in 1783 when the Empress of China left to initiate trade with China, just as another ship headed to England to formally declare the United States’ independence. With a vivid depiction of America’s love of tea, their involvement in the Chinese opium trade, and their constant drive, Eric Dolin traces the beginning of America and its first international relationships in trade and commerce.
This book presents a well-balanced discussion on the history of the United States’ relationship with China. Dolin is careful not to point fingers, but nor does he paint one group in a particularly rosy light. The book is well-researched, with lots of great detail that create an engaging narrative into this aspect of colonial history. This book will provide yet another side to the story of America’s beginnings well as the origins of its relationship with an extremely important nation. For those reasons alone, When America First Met China is worth a read.