Empire of Crime

Opium and the Rise of Organized Crime in the British Empire

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About The Book

Sometimes the best intentions can have the worst results. In 1908, British reformers banned the export of Indian opium to China. As a result, the world price of opium soared to a new high and a century of lucrative drug smuggling began. Just as the banning of alcohol in America during Prohibition made illicit fortunes for the Mafia and other gangsters, organized criminals grew rich on the trade of illegal narcotics throughout the British Empire.

Empire of Crime introduces the reader to a whole new collection of heroes and villains, including US international drug-buster Harry J. Anslinger, Shanghai underworld master criminal Du Yue-sheng, and tough North-West Frontier police chief Lieutenant Colonel Roos-Keppel, nemesis of Afghan criminal gangs. The book shows how gangsters exploited the Empire’s global trade routes to establish criminal networks across the world. In many ways, these early drug dealers were the forerunners of today’s cartels.

Digging deep into colonial archives, author Tim Newark weaves hidden reports, secret government files, and personal letters together with first-hand accounts to tell this epic but little-known story of the battle between law enforcement and organized crime.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Skyhorse (March 2018)
  • Length: 272 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781510723467

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Raves and Reviews

“Snappy as Spillane, this book is packed with girls, guns and guts. The violent milieu explored by Newark is not South Side Chicago but the British Empire.”
Independent

“Probing areas which historians have usually tactfully avoided, Newark has lifted the curtain on a hidden era of the British Empire.”
The Herald

“Tim Newark's vivid account of the exploits of law enforcement agents during the British Empire is captivating. He brings to life these talented international policemen - the drug-busting cops of the day - superbly. Agatha Christie meets The Godfather!”
—Andrew Roberts, author of The Storm of War

“As fascinating and exciting as any crime novel, a truly gripping exposé.”
—Ian Knight, author of Zulu Rising

“Probing areas which historians have usually tactfully avoided, Newark has lifted the curtain on a hidden era of the British Empire.”
Glasgow Herald

“History as it's meant to be: clear, unpretentious, exciting, authoritative and enthusiastic . . . unquestionably one of my books of the year.”
City AM

“Snappy as Spillane, this book is packed with girls, guns and guts. The violent milieu explored by Newark is not South Side Chicago but the British Empire.”
Independent

“Probing areas which historians have usually tactfully avoided, Newark has lifted the curtain on a hidden era of the British Empire.”
The Herald

“Tim Newark's vivid account of the exploits of law enforcement agents during the British Empire is captivating. He brings to life these talented international policemen - the drug-busting cops of the day - superbly. Agatha Christie meets The Godfather!”
—Andrew Roberts, author of The Storm of War

“As fascinating and exciting as any crime novel, a truly gripping exposé.”
—Ian Knight, author of Zulu Rising

“Probing areas which historians have usually tactfully avoided, Newark has lifted the curtain on a hidden era of the British Empire.”
Glasgow Herald

“History as it's meant to be: clear, unpretentious, exciting, authoritative and enthusiastic . . . unquestionably one of my books of the year.”
City AM

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