[Shanghai, China]: Engineer Section, Nanking HQ Command, . 8 1/8” x 5¼”. Stapled wrappers, mechanically reproduced typescript. Pp. 25. Very good: light wear and moderate dust-soiling; last (blank) page has small remnants newspaper and adhesive.
This is a guidebook to Shanghai produced for the wives and families who accompanied American soldiers to China in 1946. It provided basic inside information against a backdrop of extreme caution. At the time of publication, the United States Army Advisory Group was stationed in Nanking, the Nationalist capital, with a small contingent in Shanghai to help with the disbanding of the U.S. China Command at the end of September, 1946. Americans stayed on in China through 1949 after Congress passed the Economic Cooperation Act (“ECA”) of 1948 to administer the European Recovery Program, which we know as the Marshall Plan—the same legislation included $460 million in military and economic aid to China.
According to the introductory text, the purpose of the book was “to acquaint [readers] in some small way with the city of Shanghai and with the various and sundry points of interest, shopping facilities, religious and cultural institutions, etc. etc. etc.” That introduction also contained an important admonition regarding the city's present state of affairs,
“Shanghai, before the war, was one of the cleaner and more efficiently run municipalities of the world, but such is not the case today. It is no longer a clean city. It is no longer efficiently run. It is no longer controlled by European Council. It is no longer a free port. It is still, however, Shanghai; and has everything the name has always implied . . . after you have been in Shanghai a bit, you will, we are sure, forget the filth in the streets and the crowds and all of the peculiarities which will probably surprise and shock you.”
The bulk of the book is broken up into fourteen short sections including tips on shopping, clubs, sports, restaurants, schools, transportation and more. The section on places of worship included Jewish temples and there's also a brief history of Shanghai.
The book's final section contained a stronger warning with respect to interacting with locals,
“It is not our desire to be particularly judicious or overbearing with our advice; however, from bitter personal experience we state that we strongly suggest you be cautious and restrained in all of your early associations, contacts and purchases . . . though we have no doubt the majority of the orientals and occidentals are sincere . . . and trustworthy, yet it must be borne in mind that China was and is a melting pot of intrigue, graft, riffraff and of that species of person known as drifter.”
Rare: OCLC shows no holdings. Very good. Item #5073