Subgenre: history, museum studies
Source: Netgalley (book provided by publisher in exchange for honest review)
". . . to explore how and why Western collectors became captivated by Chinese art, to the lasting benefit of American museums" (18).
There are various reasons for that ranging from looting and greed to just opportunity of being in the right place at the right time. Often, it helped if you had a big fortune to spend buying artifacts and antiques (or bribing the right people to get them out of the original country).
One thing I found interesting is how the Chinese, when they can't just get looted items back, use their financial might to outright buy them back at auctions, so on. Overall, the trade comes across as a bit of an arms race. Another fascinating fact, and one that not many historians talk about is that:
". . . many New England fortunes, including those of Forbes, Russell, Sturgis, and Delano families, had roots in the opium trade" (51).
The book has many little facts like that. In the end, the only reason I am not rating it higher is that it was just so dry to read. Although it claims to be for the lay reader, I see this book more in academic collections. Academic institutions with fields like museum studies will want to acquire this. For my college, I would not get this unless it was requested. As for public libraries, this is definitely an optional selection.
In the end, it was OK, so it gets 2 out of 5 stars.
This book qualifies for the following 2015 Reading Challenges: