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Book review: 'The last kings of Shanghai'

How two Jewish Baghdadi families helped to build modern China

Elly Kadoorie and his sons, Lawrence, left, and Horace. Jonathan Kaufman's book "The Last Kings of Shanghai" details how the Kadoorie family -- along with another Jewish dynasty, the Sassoons -- left a lasting mark on China. (Courtesy of Hong Kong Heritage Project)

BANGKOK -- At the outset of his award-winning career, American journalist Jonathan Kaufman found himself staring at the story of a lifetime. Fresh from college at 23, and working in Hong Kong, he was sent to Shanghai -- one of the first Western journalists allowed into China in the 1970s. It was the start of a lifelong study of China's modernization.

But it was not until decades later, working in Beijing as China bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal from 2002 to 2005, that a familiar but surprising shadow caught his eye. Connecting the dots helped him to produce his fascinating third book, "The Last Kings of Shanghai."

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