In the dramatic story of one of the greatest acts of corporate espionage ever committed, Sarah Rose recounts the fascinating, unlikely circumstances surrounding a turning point in economic history. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the British East India Company faced the loss of its monopoly on the fantastically lucrative tea trade with China, forcing it to make the drastic decision of sending Scottish botanist Robert Fortune to steal the crop from deep within China and bring it back to British plantations in India. Fortune’s danger-filled odyssey, magnificently recounted here, reads like adventure fiction, revealing a long-forgotten chapter of the past and the wondrous origins of a seemingly ordinary beverage.
Sarah Rose is the author of FOR ALL THE TEA IN CHINA: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History (Viking, 2010), the true story of a 19th Century botanist who traveled undercover in Qing China to steal the secrets of tea for England and the East India Company; the largest act of corporate espionage in the history of the world.
Named the BBC’s Book of the Week, FOR ALL THE TEA IN CHINA was called “a wonderful combination of scholarship and storytelling” by NPR and “An enthusiastic tale of how the humble leaf became a global addiction,” by the Financial Times. It received starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal and the AudioPhile Earphones Award for the author-read audiobook.
In Hong Kong, Miami and New York, Rose has covered a broad range of beats including international politics and economics during the Hong Kong handover, finance and business during the end of the dot com bubble, the environment, and local stories such as cops, courts and schools. She now writes about food and travel for magazines such as Men’s Journal and Bon Appetit.
A Chicago native, Rose holds degrees from Harvard College and the University of Chicago. She has been awarded the North American Travel Journalists Association Grand Prize in Writing, finalist in the John T. Lupton “New Voices in Literature” Award in Non-Fiction, and was a grant recipient from the New York Foundation for the Arts.
For All the Tea in China is her first book, published by Viking in the US, Hutchison in the UK.