Imperial Twilight by Stephen R. Platt
Imperial Twilight : The Opium War and the End of China's Last Golden Age
In 1839 Britain embarked on the first of its wars with China, sealing the fate of the most prosperous and powerful empire in Asia, if not the world. Motivated by drug profiteering and free-trade interests, the Opium War helped shaped the China we know today, sparking the eventual fall of the Qing dynasty and the rise of nationalism and communism in the twentieth century.
Imperial Twilight is a riveting and revealing account of the end of China's Golden Age and the origins of one of the most unjust wars in history.