Not Logged in.
Book Jacket
Night in Shanghai
The forgotten story of black musicians in the Chinese jazz age, and a...
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide
Author Biography

What did you learn about Shanghai, it's people, it's history?

Created: 01/13/15

Replies: 11

Posted Jan. 13, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
shellyb

Join Date: 07/04/11

Posts: 16

What did you learn about Shanghai, it's people and history?

I knew the Japanese took over China and were cruel to them. I didn't know it was such an open city at the time. Also I did not know they took in Jews when so many other countries would not.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the character, the story line and the history. I didn't realize so many of the characters in the book were actual people. This made it even better for me.


Posted Jan. 13, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Retired Reader, NE

Join Date: 09/16/11

Posts: 165

Expert

RE: What did you learn about Shanghai, it's people, it's history?

I began reading this book knowing quite a lot about Shanghai. However, I had not read much about the nightclub scene from the viewpoint of Black musicians. If you want to expand on your knowledge of Shanghai in the 1930s and 40s, I recommend "Shanghai Girls" by Lisa See (Chinese perspective) and "The Far Side of the Sky" by Daniel Kalla (Jewish perspective).


Posted Jan. 13, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pamelah

Join Date: 05/19/11

Posts: 19

RE: What did you learn about Shanghai, it's people, it's history?

I knew that Shanghai was an international city, and the most "western" city in China until 1949, when China became communist, and a closed country. I hadn't realized that Shanghai was such a swinging city, and "the freest place on earth." I hadn't realized that it welcomed blacks; or Jews, who fled there from Germany. Both were groups of people, who were seeking freedom and equal status.


Posted Jan. 13, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lindah

Join Date: 04/17/14

Posts: 90

Expert

RE: What did you learn about Shanghai, it's people, it's history?

I knew Shanghai was an international port city thinking of the great Marlene Dietrich/Anna Mae Wong film of 1931/32 "Shanghai Express". It was a destination and refuge and most westernized city in China. I've done some reading about the Japanese invasion and ill treatment of the Chinese and about the rise of Chinese Communism and the violent clash with the Nationalists. I had read about the "Shanghai Visas" and sheltering of many thousand Jews during the Holocaust and the role of the Sassoons and other Jewish families in China. However, I didn't know about the presence of black jazz musicians in the nightclubs. Nicole Mones book helped to animate and enliven the vague memories of history for me.


Posted Jan. 14, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ruthiea

Join Date: 02/03/14

Posts: 86

Expert

RE: What did you learn about Shanghai, it's people, it's history?

I had not read much about Shanghai although I had read Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. This was a real eye opener for me. I knew nothing of the nightclub/jazz scene in pre-war Shanghai, nor about how welcome Black musicians were at a time when they were living in segregated America.
I knew a bit about Jewish refugees finding shelter in Shanghai but did not know to what extent, nor did I know about the proposed settlement for 100,000 Jews.
I had read about the Japanese invasion and the rise of Communism and the idealistic youth who embraced it so optimistically at first, but I did not realize that even at the beginning they were aware that a foreign education would be frowned upon and put them at risk.


Posted Jan. 14, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sylviag

Join Date: 03/25/13

Posts: 14

RE: What did you learn about Shanghai, it's people, it's history?

I knew about Shanghai history, about the Bund, about the Jewish community. I did not know about the jazz clubs and the open society that existed.


Posted Jan. 18, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kate

Join Date: 01/22/11

Posts: 50

Expert

RE: What did you learn about Shanghai, it's people, it's history?

Like others have stated I knew a bit about Shanghai, but was completely unaware of the night club scene as well as the black jazz musicians who played there. I was also surprised at the number of Jewish refugees who settled there. That is why I love historical fiction so much. So many new things to learn!


Posted Jan. 19, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
christinep

Join Date: 07/16/13

Posts: 31

RE: What did you learn about Shanghai, it's people, it's history?

I was unaware of the Jewish refugees that settled in Shanghai. I also did not know about Ho Feng-Shan. I will check out some of the other books that the other readers have suggested. Thank you for the recommendations, especially The Far Side of the Sky.


Posted Jan. 19, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 160

Expert

RE: What did you learn about Shanghai, it's people, it's history?

I realized from the beginning of the book that I knew very little about Shanghai other than that it had been an important international city. I was completely unaware of the jazz scene in Shanghai, or of the Jewish refugees. I had read some about the Japanese invasion, but didn't know much about that era, nor much about the early days of the Nationalist/Communist clashes. I remember being taught in elementary school that Taiwan was "Chiang Kai-Shek's China," but didn't learn much about how that came about until late in my life. I enjoyed learning more of the history through the pages of this novel.


Posted Jan. 19, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
suzie

Join Date: 01/19/15

Posts: 4

RE: What did you learn about Shanghai, it's people, it's history?

I've read a lot of books about WWII and I never knew that Shanghai had a such a large Jewish refugee population - that's what I love about reading historical fiction, I never stop learning!


Posted Feb. 04, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ABeman

Join Date: 01/14/15

Posts: 20

RE: What did you learn about Shanghai, it's people, it's history?

Like many of the readers who have responded before me, I learned about the large Jewish refugee population. I don't have a lot of background knowledge about Shanghai, so I also learned about the city's jazz scene, and how torn the city and the Chinese people were during the war.


Posted Mar. 18, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 163

Expert

RE: What did you learn about Shanghai, it's people, it's history?

While I was aware of the Japanese war on China and the war between the Communist and the Nationalist Chinese, my knowledge was not very specific and Mones filled a number of gaps. I was totally unaware of the jazz scene in Shanghai and of the city's openness to Negroes and to Jews.


Reply

Please login to post a response.