BookBrowse Reviews Fragile Cargo by Adam Brookes

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Fragile Cargo

The World War II Race to Save the Treasures of China's Forbidden City

by Adam Brookes

Fragile Cargo by Adam Brookes X
Fragile Cargo by Adam Brookes
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2023, 384 pages

    Oct 10, 2023, 384 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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About this Book



A gripping account of China's attempts to protect its cultural artifacts during WWII.

As Japanese soldiers approached Beijing in 1931, China's government decided that the rarest treasures housed in the city's Palace Museum needed to be evacuated to safer territory. Overseen by Palace Museum director Ma Heng, some 63,500 irreplaceable artifacts were packed into nearly 20,000 cases and sent on a journey that would span thousands of miles and many years. Novelist Adam Brookes makes his first foray into nonfiction with his magnificent chronicle of their efforts, Fragile Cargo: The World War II Race to Save the Treasures of China's Forbidden City. Brooke's narrative tells the tale not only of the objects' harrowing travels, but also China's history just before, during and after World War II, as well as the lives of Ma Heng and the three assistant curators – Chuang Yen, Ouyang Daoda and Na Chih-liang – who were instrumental in the items' safe passage.

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