• Imperial Twilight

  • The Opium War and the End of China's Last Golden Age
  • By: Stephen R. Platt
  • Narrated by: Mark Deakins
  • Length: 17 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (826 ratings)

Prime logo Prime members: New to Audible?
Get 2 free audiobooks during trial.
Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
Premium Plus auto-renews for $14.95/mo after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
Imperial Twilight  By  cover art

Imperial Twilight

By: Stephen R. Platt
Narrated by: Mark Deakins
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $22.50

Buy for $22.50

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's summary

As China reclaims its position as a world power, Imperial Twilight looks back to tell the story of the country's last age of ascendance and how it came to an end in the 19th-century Opium War.

As one of the most potent turning points in the country's modern history, the Opium War has since come to stand for everything that today's China seeks to put behind it.

In this dramatic, epic story, award-winning historian Stephen Platt sheds new light on the early attempts by Western traders and missionaries to "open" China even as China's imperial rulers were struggling to manage their country's decline and Confucian scholars grappled with how to use foreign trade to China's advantage.

The audiobook paints an enduring portrait of an immensely profitable - and mostly peaceful - meeting of civilizations that was destined to be shattered by one of the most shockingly unjust wars in the annals of imperial history. Brimming with a fascinating cast of British, Chinese, and American characters, this riveting narrative of relations between China and the West has important implications for today's uncertain and ever-changing political climate.

©2018 Stephen R. Platt (P)2018 Random House Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

"Everyone with experience in China has heard about the legacy of the Opium War and subsequent ‘Century of Humiliation.’ But Stephen Platt presents the buildup to this confrontation in a vivid and fascinating way, which challenges many prevailing assumptions in both China and the West (including some of my own). This is narrative and analytic history of a high order, which will be read with enjoyment by audiences around the world.” (James Fallows, author of Our Towns and China Airborne)

"A deeply researched study of an early clash of civilizations, when England attempted to impose its will on East Asia... A fluent, well-written exercise in revisionism, one of interest to students of modern geopolitics as well as 19th-century history." (Kirkus)

"A fresh perspective on the first Opium War, the conflict that allowed Western merchants to pry open China’s riches and gain unprecedented trading privileges... Platt's research is impeccably presented in this winning history of British and Chinese trade." (Publishers Weekly)