FJC Shanghai

Jonathan Kaufman will discuss his new book, “The Last Kings of Shanghai: The Rival Jewish Dynasties That Helped Create Modern China” in a Zoom presentation on May 6.

Falmouth Jewish Congregation will host a free Jewish Book Council author talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jonathan Kaufman, author of "The Last Kings of Shanghai: The Rival Jewish Dynasties That Helped Create Modern China." The program will take place on Zoom on Thursday, May 6, at 2 PM. Register in advance at to receive login information. The talk will also include time for questions and answers.

“The Last Kings of Shanghai” relates the epic, multigenerational story of two rival dynasties—the Sassoons and the Kadoories—that flourished in Shanghai and Hong Kong as 20-century China surged into the modern era. These two Jewish families, both originally from Baghdad, stood astride Chinese business and politics for more than 175 years, profiting from the Opium Wars; surviving Japanese occupation; courting Chiang Kai-shek; and losing nearly everything as the Communists swept into power.

Mr. Kaufman tells the remarkable history of how these families participated in an economic boom that opened China to the world, but remained blind to the country's deep inequality and to the political turmoil at their doorsteps.

Mr. Kaufman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who has written and reported on China for 30 years for The Boston Globe, where he covered the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square; The Wall Street Journal, where he served as China bureau chief from 2002 to 2005; and Bloomberg News. He is also the author of “A Hole in the Heart of the World: Being Jewish in Eastern Europe” and “Broken Alliance: The Turbulent Times Between Blacks and Jews in America,” winner of the National Jewish Book Award. He is director of the School of Journalism at Northeastern University in Boston.

Mr. Kaufman’s book can be ordered locally through Eight Cousins Bookstore.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.