Harbin: A Cross-Cultural Biography

Mark Gamsa: Harbin: A Cross-Cultural Biography. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2020

This book offers an intimate portrait of early-twentieth-century Harbin, a city in Manchuria where Russian colonialists, and later refugees from the Revolution, met with Chinese migrants.

The deep social and intellectual fissures between the Russian and Chinese worlds were matched by a multitude of small efforts to cross the divide as the city underwent a wide range of social and political changes. Using surviving letters, archival photographs, and rare publications, this book also tells the personal story of a forgotten city resident, Baron Roger Budberg, a physician who, being neither Russian nor Chinese, nevertheless stood at the very centre of the cross-cultural divide in Harbin.

The biography of an important city, fleshing out its place in the global history of East-West contacts and twentieth-century diasporas, this book is also the history of an individual life and an original experiment in historical writing. (Verlagstext)