The quote, “The Sun never set on the British Empire,” reflects the immense size of the British empire. At that time, the British had different colonies across the globe, from America, India, and Britain itself, the sun truly never did set in the British colonies. On the contrary to the British, the Chinese were isolated and self-sufficient. Maurice Collis' novel, Foreign Mud, attempts to give a portrayal of the effects of the opium trade on China and the British Empire. The story begins by drawing us in by following a Dr. Downing into one of China's trade cities, Canton, and showing us how China operated. China did not like outsiders and restricted what Downing could do. At this point in the book I was quite interested in what would happen next; I was connecting with Downing, *explain how/what you connected with briefly*, but then they took him away which transitioned into more of a history lesson then a story. This got me irritated because ever since the author stopped writing about Downing's adventures*, I became bored out of my mind and barely able to pay attention to what was going on. All I got out of the book was that the British Empire used war to open up trade in China, which the Chinese government did not want at all. The author, Maurice Collis, was very one-sided and only talked about the British point of view. Yes he does talk about the main powers of China, but he does not know what they are thinking about. It is frustrating how he is trying to entertain us and spew out information simultaneously which might not even be there. His way of writing just does not resonate with how I obtain this type of information: stay with an entertaining story or stay with a history lesson without psychic insights! Besides all his writing faults, Collis does an excellent job informing us what historically happened during the time period -- if one's intention span would reach that far. Meaning this, the British and Chinese had a war about trade in which the British won. This is a historical fact and most of the book follows what history told us, even if it was from the British point of view. So if someone interested in history read this, it would keep their attention since they would be wondering how the whole system works; from what types of trades there were, like legal trade and the black market, to who were actually in charge, like the great Dragon or the Viceroy and the Governor. The author did one thing perfectly, picking a title. Foreign Mud is not only a slang term for Opium but a symbol for what the Chinese thought of the British. The Chinese government liked their isolation and was doing just fine on their own. Then the British came stomping in trying to expand their empire even more, with their dirty feet. No one wants to track mud into their home, and the Chinese were no different. They saw the British as dirty school boys tracking dirt and vermin into their country; the vermin being the drugs. I for one would not recommend this book to anyone, not even to those history nerds! When I read a book it has to entertain me or be organized in a way where I can find what I'm looking for. This book only entertains for the first couple sections, but after that, there are so many unnecessary details. If someone wanted to find an important detail, they need to read the entire section to find it again. I would prefer to read an actual textbook over this storyteller's work any day since at least it would give me a more organized method to study off of.

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