Timothy Brook

Made in Taiwan

Lost Colony: The Untold Story of China’s First Great Victory over the West

By

Princeton University Press 431pp £24.95 order from our bookshop

With numbing regularity, publishers of history books strive to grab the attention of window-shoppers by declaiming that the book on offer tells an untold story. The trouble with most of these claims is that their stories have already been told. And if they have not, it is usually because the narratives they relate are either not worth hearing, or utterly fabricated. As fabrication sells better than triviality, pure nonsense has been gaining ground in the field of popular history over the past decade. The narrow soul who spoils the effect by pointing out that this or that untold story is actually untold nonsense rarely gets a hearing.

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