Barbarians at the Gate

Barbarians at the Gate

The Peking Express with Author James Zimmerman

April 03, 2023

In this episode, we are delighted to talk with James Zimmerman about his new book, Peking Express: The Bandits who Stole a Train, Stunned the West, and Broke the Republic of China. The book is an enthralling account of a largely forgotten chapter in Chinese history, the harrowing 1923 raid on a luxury train by Chinese bandits and the ensuing 37-day hostage standoff. Jim fills us in on the backstory of the incident, based on the treasure trove of diaries, newspaper accounts, and personal testimony, which he skillfully knits together into a fascinating narrative of a China in turmoil, contrasting the poverty-stricken villages caught in the crossfire between bandits and warlords with the opulent lifestyles of the elite group of western tourists.

Jim Zimmerman is a lawyer who has lived and worked in Beijing for over 25 years and served four terms as the chairman of the Beijing American Chamber of Commerce.