Author Event: The Mercenary Mandarin - Biography by David Leffman

Author Event: The Mercenary Mandarin - Biography by David Leffman

Thursday, Oct 03, 2019 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Asia Bookroom
Unit 2, 1 - 3Lawry Place
Macquarie (near Jamison Plaza)

Ph: 02 62515191

RSVP by noon on Thursday October 3rd to or 62515191

Entry by gold coin donation to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation

Author David Leffman  talks about his new book 
The Mercenary Mandarin
6pm Thursday October 3, 2019 at Asia Bookroom

British adventurer William Mesny (1842–1919),  lived in China for 59 years and became a salt smuggler, a prisoner of the Taipings, a customs official, an arms dealer, and a decorated general in the Qing military.

 Mesny fought against the Miao and Hui in Guizhou, spoke fluent Chinese, was twice married to Chinese women, and later spent five years travelling right around the country, from Beijing to the borders with Burma, Tibet, Xinjiang and Vietnam. He wrote opinionated newspaper articles about everything he saw, including the Taiping, Miao and Hui rebellions, and the territorial wars with France, Russia and Japan which saw China lose valuable tributary states.   Mesny also knew Li Hongzhang, Ding Baozhen and Zuo Zongtang personally, and served as an advisor on modernisation to Zhang Zhidong. He eventually settled down at Shanghai and published a weekly magazine about his experiences, Mesny’s Chinese Miscellany (华英会通; 1895–1905). 

Author David Leffman is a  British travel writer who first visited China in 1985. Since then he has written guidebooks to China, Hong Kong, Australia, Indonesia and Iceland for publishers such as Rough Guides and Dorling Kindersley. He spent fifteen years researching The Mercenary Mandarin by following Mesny’s journeys around China, interviewing local people, and gathering together his scattered journals, letters and newspaper articles.  The Mercenary Mandarin  received positive reviews in the China Daily and South China Morning Post.