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Reviews 211 Kathleen L. Lodwick. Crusaders against Opium: ProtestantMissionaries in China, 1874-1917. Lexington, Kentucky: University ofKentucky Press, 1996. xi, 232 pp. Hardcover $29.95, isbn: 0-8131-1924-3. Opium loomed large in the modern encounter between China and the West, and while the diplomatic, military, and economic aspects ofthe opium trade have been well researched, almost nothing has been written about the social side— about smoking, rates ofaddiction, and the struggle to end fhis terrible evil. The only recent work was a 1975 survey ofopium smoking in Qing China by Jonathan Spence.1 But fhe current international "war on drugs" has sparked renewed interest in the batde against opium that took place one hundred years ago, and with increasing regularity papers and conferences are being devoted to this subject.2 While fhe volume under review is a much welcomed first effort to explore the social dimensions offhis history, its scope is limited to one small, albeit important , aspect of fhe larger picture, namely the campaign undertaken by Protestant missionaries in China to bring an end to fhe opium trade and assist in eradicating opium growing and smoking. The time frame chosen for the study does not, however, reflect the long involvement of China missionaries with the opium question; rather, it takes its dates from fhe establishment and demise of the Anglo-Oriental Society for the Suppression of the Opium Trade, founded by British Quakers. Given that China missionaries confronted the opium question from the earliest days of the trade, the story of China missionaries and opium is obviously longer and more complex than the less than fifty-year period covered by this study. The choice of the British Society's dates for the time frame speaks to the ambiguity at the heart of the study: precisely how influential were the China missionaries in the successful outcome ofthe anti-opium crusade? The author acknowledges that fhe success ofthe movement, which began in earnest in 1906 with the Emperor's Edict ofSuppression, involved many groups: Chinese reformers , government officials, and British social reformers. Although focusing on only one segment ofthis larger picture, the China missionaries, the book does provide interesting information on all the rest. It is the author's contention that the Protestant missionaries were the first to condemn fhe trade, and fhe medical missionaries were the first to provide scientific data about addiction. They were, in her words, "onlookers" once the campaign was fully under way, but their role was crucial at die beginning.© 1997 by UniversityThe book begins with a fascinating overview ofopium in late nineteenthofHawai 'i Presscentury China. This survey suggests that it is almost impossible to establish precisely either the amounts grown or the number ofaddicts. Spence's conclusion fhat there was use on a "gigantic scale" seems as close as one can get (pp. 18-19). 212 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 1997 The reasons why people used opium—the question diat first drew the author to this study—are equally impossible to establish. The most intriguing factor was addiction resulting from treatment by both Chinese and Western doctors for chronic iUnesses. Unaware ofits addictive properties, doctors routinely used opium, or in its common Western form oflaudanum, as a treatment for a series ofailments such as malaria, dysentery, and tuberculosis. As evidence accumulated fhat these treatments were ineffective, this practice declined. What is clear is that all ages and classes, and both genders, were affected. Female addicts were most often found among the gentry class as theyhad the money and leisure to pursue the habit, and usually became addicts following the example of fheir husbands. Peasant women addicts, though far fewer in number, simüarly followed their husbands , but their fate was by far the worst as they were usuaUy reduced to begging and/or prostitution. Even those who could afford the habit, such as gentry or officials , were often ruined by it because a serious addict spent halfhis time smoking and half sleeping off fhe effects, and without capable non-addicted subordinates to attend to business, a smoker could be ruined. Peasant males were always ruined by the habit. The physical affects were devastating, as addiction impaired the abüity...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 211-215
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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