Asian Review of Books

Asian Review of Books


Interviews with authors of books reviewed in the Asian Review of Books.

Sudev Sheth, "Bankrolling Empire: Family Fortunes and Political Transformation in Mughal India" (Cambridge UP, 2024)

June 13, 2024

Bankrolling Empire

Sudev Sheth
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

Running and securing an empire can get expensive–especially one known for its opulence, like the Mughal Empire, which conquered much of northern India…

Scott Crawford, "The Han-Xiongnu War, 133 BC-89 AD: The Struggle of China and a Steppe Empire Told Through Its Key Figures (Pen & Sword, 2023)

June 6, 2024

The Han-Xiongnu War, 133 Bc-89 Ad

Scott Crawford
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

For two centuries, the Xiongnu people–a vast nomadic empire that covered modern-day Siberia, Inner Mongolia, Gansu and Xinjiang—were one of the Han Dy…

Gary J. Bass, "Judgement at Tokyo: World War II on Trial and the Making of Modern Asia" (Knopf, 2023)

May 30, 2024

Judgement at Tokyo

Gary J. Bass
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

In December 1948, a panel of 12 judges sentenced 23 Japanese officials for war crimes. Seven, including former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, were senten…

Peter Harmsen, "Bernhard Sindberg: The Schindler of Nanjing" (Casemate, 2024)

May 23, 2024

Bernhard Sindberg

Peter Harmsen
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

In December 1937, Bernhard Sindberg arrives at a cement factory outside of Nanjing. He’s one of just two foreigners, and he gets there just weeks befo…

Rajrishi Singhal, "Slip, Stitch and Stumble: The Untold Story of Financial Reforms in India" (Viking, 2024)

May 16, 2024

Slip, Stitch and Stumble

Rajrishi Singhal
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

India’s stock markets are booming. One calculation from Bloomberg puts India as the world’s fourth-largest equity market, overtaking Hong Kong, as dom…

Jeremy Garlick, "Advantage China: Agent of Change in an Era of Global Disruption" (Bloomsbury, 2023)

May 9, 2024

Advantage China

Jeremy Garlick
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

China’s rise to global prominence is a pretty good contender for the most important world development in the past 30 years. But now the question is ho…

Katie Gee Salisbury, "Not Your China Doll: The Wild and Shimmering Life of Anna May Wong" (Dutton, 2024)

May 2, 2024

Not Your China Doll

Katie Gee Salisbury
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

In 2022, the U.S. Mint released the first batch of its American Women Quarters series, celebrating the achievements of U.S. women throughout its histo…

Mukund Padmanabhan, "The Great Flap of 1942: How the Raj Panicked over a Japanese Non-invasion (Vintage Books, 2024)

April 25, 2024

The Great Flap of 1942

Mukund Padmanabhan
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

In April 1942, at least half a million people fled the city of Madras, now known as Chennai. The reason? The British, after weeks of growing unease ab…

Jonathan Chatwin, "The Southern Tour: Deng Xiaoping and the Fight for China's Future" (Bloomsbury, 2024)

April 18, 2024

The Southern Tour

Jonathan Chatwin
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

Deng Xiaoping’s 1992 Southern Tour has become a milestone in Chinese economic history. Historians and commentators credit Deng’s visit to Guangzhou Pr…

Robert D. Kaplan, "The Loom of Time: Between Empire and Anarchy, from the Mediterranean to China" (Random House, 2023)

April 11, 2024

The Loom of Time

Robert D. Kaplan
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

The Middle East remains one of the world’s most complicated, thorny—and, uncharitably, unstable—parts of the world, as countless headlines make clear.…

Kyokutei Bakin, "Eight Dogs, Or Hakkenden: Part Two--His Master's Blade" (Cornell UP, 2024)

April 4, 2024

Eight Dogs, Or Hakkenden

Kyokutei Bakin
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

Glynne Walley, translator of classic Japanese novel Hakkenden, joins us on the podcast again to talk about his second translated volume: Hakkenden, Pa…

David Veevers, "The Great Defiance: How the World Took on the British Empire" (Ebury Press, 2023)

March 28, 2024

The Great Defiance

David Veevers
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

It’s very easy to study the history of the British Empire from the perspective of, well, the British–and to extend the early 20th century version of t…

Noo Saro-Wiwa, "Black Ghosts: A Journey Into the Lives of Africans in China" (Canongate Books, 2024)

March 21, 2024

Black Ghosts

Noo Saro-Wiwa
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

Just a decade ago, before COVID upended everything, tens of thousands of migrants from African countries traveled to China in search of economic oppor…

Julie Kalman, "The Kings of Algiers: How Two Jewish Families Shaped the Mediterranean World During the Napoleonic Wars and Beyond" (Princeton UP, 2023)

March 14, 2024

The Kings of Algiers

Julie Kalman
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

On July 27th, 1827, the dey of Algiers struck the French consul over his country’s refusal to pay back its debts–specifically, to two Jewish merchant …

Ben Rothenberg, "Naomi Osaka: Her Journey to Finding Her Power and Her Voice" (Dutton, 2024)

March 7, 2024

Naomi Osaka

Ben Rothenberg
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

In July 2021, Naomi Osaka—world number 1 women’s tennis player—lit the Olympic Cauldron at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The half-Japanese, half-American, …

Thomas J. Barfield, "Shadow Empires: An Alternative Imperial History" (Princeton UP, 2023)

March 1, 2024

Shadow Empires

Thomas J. Barfield
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

Empires are one of the most common forms of political structure in history—yet no empire is alike. We have our “standard” view of empire: perhaps the …

Simon Partner, "Koume's World: The Life and Work of a Samurai Woman Before and After the Meiji Restoration" (Columbia UP, 2023)

February 22, 2024

Koume's World

Simon Partner
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

In 1864, on a midsummer’s day, Kawai Koume, a 60-year old matriarch of a samurai family in Wakayama, makes a note in her diary, which she had dutifull…

Diego Javier Luis, "The First Asians in the Americas: A Transpacific History" (Harvard UP, 2024)

February 15, 2024

The First Asians in the Americas

Diego Javier Luis
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

There’s a popular folk hero in Puebla, Mexico—Catarina de San Juan, who Mexicans hailed as a devoted religious figure after her death in 1688. She’s c…

Gregory Wallance, "Into Siberia: George Kennan's Epic Journey Through the Brutal, Frozen Heart of Russia" (St. Martin's Press, 2023)

February 8, 2024

Into Siberia

Gregory Wallance
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

It’s perhaps one of history’s funny accidents that relations between the U.S. and Russia were changed not by one, but two, George Kennans. Decades bef…

Joshua Ehrlich, "The East India Company and the Politics of Knowledge" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

February 1, 2024

The East India Company and the Politics of Knowledge

Joshua Ehrlich
Hosted by Nicholas Gordon

The East India Company was a unique entity in world history: More than just a commercial enterprise, the Company tried to act as its own government. N…