The Peking Express
In May 1923, when Shanghai publisher and reporter John Benjamin Powell bought a first-class ticket for the Peking Express, he pictured an idyllic overnight journey on a brand-new train of unprecedented luxury-exactly what the advertisements promised. Seeing his fellow passengers, including mysterious Italian lawyer Giuseppe Musso, a confidante of Mussolini and lawyer for the opium trade, and American heiress Lucy Aldrich, sister-in-law of John D. Rockefeller Jr., he knew it would be an unforgettable trip. Charismatic bandit leader and populist rabble rouser Sun Mei-yao had also taken notice of the new train from Shanghai to Peking. On the night of Powell's trip of a lifetime, Sun launched his plan to make a brazen political statement: he and a thousand fellow bandits descended on the train, capturing dozens of hostages. Aided by local proxy authorities, the humiliated Peking government soon furiously gave chase. At the bandits' mountain stronghold, a five-week siege began. Brilliantly written, with new and original research, The Peking Express tells the incredible true story of a clash that shocked the world-becoming so celebrated it inspired several Hollywood movies-and set the course for China's two-decade civil war.
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