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Monday, February 09, 2015

The Chinese Labour Corps

The Chinese Labour CorpsThe Chinese Labour Corps by Mark O'Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Current colleague Mark O'Neill's The Chinese Labour Corps does a lot for my imagination.

The various facts in here beg to be a great motion picture, stirring all sorts of emotions, pushing buttons, and wondering what else could stem from this. I wish I knew how to write a screenplay.

My four stars out of five is a very strong four, and itching to be five. It is a five in thought provocation.

So many times over the decades of our lives we have read an seen action-packed accounts of those brave men in uniform. Behind the scenes there is a lot going on, too. There certainly was in World War I in France.

The lives differed considerably between those hired to work for the French and those with the British. The French Chinese workers had much more freedom, and a little more money. Some 3,000 remained in France after the war married to local women. But, it was different in the English camps. Some were shot down in riots.

Some of the lasting effects of the Chinese-French connection can still be seen today if you know where to look. Mark O'Neill's very well-researched book will point the way.

I noticed a seemingly strange interest in France and French things when I first came to Asia in 2010. I thought this book might have indicated that that WWI employment story was the root of it. It didn't say directly that it was, but maybe that is for another book?



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