Sep 30, 2013
Sarah Rose is the author of For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World's Favorite Drink and Changed History. At the beginning of the 19th century, China had a global monopoly on tea. One of the most valuable export products in the world, China carefully guarded every part of tea's production: the techniques, the workers and, most of all, the plants. So, when the British East India Company went looking for someone to steal every part of tea production and bring it to their plantations in India, they needed someone truly remarkable. At that point, no Westerners were allowed into the interior of China. Whoever the Company selected for the task would need the linguistic and cultural knowledge to pass into the heart of the Empire disguised as a Chinese person while still possessing the botanical skills to bring the tea plants out intact. They selected Scottish botanist Robert Fortune.A thrilling mix of history, industrial espionage and culture clash, For All the Tea in China is a very enjoyable read. Bryan and Sarah discuss the book and the process of writing history in general in this episode.Also, be sure to Rate and Comment on iTunes.