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This is an auction for HERMIT OF PEKING: THE HIDDEN LIFE OF SIR EDMUND BACKHOUSE, by Hugh Trevor-Roper. reviews:

"FIVE STARS!!! This is one of my favorite books. Trevor-Roper uses his considerable scholarly ability to write about a strange life that reads more like fiction than history. It is a real page turner as the eccentric and convoluted life of Backhouse is revealed. Trevor-Roper takes us from Backhouse's years at Oxford and his association with famous homosexual elite there at the turn of the century, and his spending beyond his means. He was an excellent linguist, a con-man, and forger. Homosexuality is certainly not the prominent theme of this book, and is handled with delicacy and is merely treated as another facet of this complex man. I recommend this book for both the historian and any reader of fiction that enjoys a good yarn. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction."

"Until this book was first published in 1976 Sir Edmund Backhouse (1873-1944) was renowned as a scholar. He had co-authored two best-selling books about the Chinese Royal Court. By the time of his death he had lived in China for nearly 40 years. The esteem in which he had been held by students of Chinese history collapsed upon publication of this book. 'China under the Empress Dowager', published in 1910 and the pinnacle of Backhouse's achievements, was found to be based on a forgery - one of many forgeries it transpires - perpetuated by Backhouse himself."

More very favourable reviews on

Penguin paperback 1978.

391 pages + eight pages of photographs.

Good condition.

The cost of shipping is $3.95 (ordinary post) or $6.95 (tracked mail). If you are on rural delivery and want tracked mail, the shipping cost will be $9.95.

There is of course no charge for shipping if you collect this book from my shop in Palmerston North following the auction.

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Shipping options

  • NZ Post$3.95
  • tracked mail$6.95
  • tracked mail for Rural Delivery (RD)$9.95
  • Seller allows pick-ups
  • Seller location: Palmerston North, Manawatu, NZ

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