Sun, Jun 11|
Holocaust Museum LA
The Peking Express: The Bandits Who Stole a Train, Stunned the West, and Broke the Republic of China
Join author James Zimmerman for this riveting story about China’s great train robbery of 1923 that involved hostages from the Shanghai Jewish merchant community, the movers and shakers who helped build Shanghai into an international economic powerhouse during the 1920-30’s.
Time & Location
Jun 11, 2023, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Holocaust Museum LA, 100 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA
The Peking Express is an exciting and fast paced story about China’s great train robbery of 1923 and full of banditry, political intrigue, heroism, and a reflection of the excesses of the Warlord Era in early 20th century China. The crisis — covered extensively in newspapers around the world — lasted for six weeks while the bandits moved the hostages across the Shandong countryside with the Chinese army in pursuit. What more, a number of the story’s key characters, including eight of the final fifteen foreign hostages, were from the well-respected Shanghai Jewish merchant community, the movers and shakers that helped build Shanghai into an international economic powerhouse during the 1920-30s. Each of them have a good story to tell. Also attending the book talk at HMLA is the LA-based descendants of former hostage Leon Friedman, one of China’s largest automobile dealers in early 20th century China.
The author has lived and worked in Beijing for over 25 years, and previously served four terms as the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China.
The conversation will be moderated by Julie L. Kessler, a retired transactional lawyer who is now a renowned travel journalist, with work featured in publications such as the San Francisco Examiner and the LA Times.
The New York Times:
"Social bandits are, rather, peasant heroes of popular resistance... are known all over the world, from the early “Haiduks” of the Balkans to Robin Hood, Pancho Villa and Sun Mei-yao, the leader of the horde which attacked the Peking Express one night in 1923, the subject of James M. Zimmerman’s excellent new book."
South China Morning Post:
"It’s an extraordinary story, tingling with memorable characters. Zimmerman, a lawyer and four-time chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, who has lived in Beijing for 25 years, tells it with meticulous deftness."
Wall Street Journal:
"Mr. Zimmerman peppers his fast-moving narrative with colorful details and memorable characters among both the hostages and their captors.”
Financial Times' Best Books of the Week:
"The Peking Express — a film-like true story of a train hijacking" “James Zimmerman ... has achieved a modern rarity... So extraordinary are the events recounted in The Peking Express that it reads like fantasy…yielding a captivating story of robbery, murder, hostages and intrigue...”