So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu


The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu: Being a Somewhat Detailed Account of the Amazing Adventures of Nayland Smith in His Trailing of the Sinister Chinaman
by Sax Rohmer


The first of a 13-volume series by Sax Rohmer, this is one of the most racist books I have ever read. Asians or Asia are always mentioned with a racist or pejorative adjective. An Amazon reviewer says of the Fu-Manchu series: "thematically, Rohmer serves as a literary bridge between Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories and Ian Fleming's James Bond." Complete with a doctor sidekick to chronicle the adventures, Rohmer tells the tale of Denis Nayland Smith and Dr. John Petrie as they struggle to oppose Dr. Fu-Manchu's exploits in London working for a shadowy Chinese organization whose goal is world domination. A brilliant scientist and leader of a band of devoted non-White slaves, Fu-Manchu's goal is to kill Western imperialists who stand in the way of Chinese advancement. The "seductively lovely" Kâramanèh, who is Fu-Manchu's Egyptian slave, provides a forbidden love interest when she becomes infatuated with Dr. Petrie. A rousing adventure, with Fu-Manchu killing people all over London as Smith and Petrie slowly come to grips with the powers they are up against, the book displays much of the European fear and misunderstanding of The East at the beginning of the 20th Century.

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