Here is a video of Platt discussing why he decided to write the book:
The full review can be read here at OpenDemocracy. Here is an excerpt:
|Hong Xiuquan (1814-64),|
Without a full and proper understanding of the situation on the ground in China, and of the impact their intervention might have there, those in the west who favoured intervention were able to persuade themselves and others that the supply of men and weapons to the imperial forces was a “humanitarian intervention" that stood the best chance of ending over a decade of bloodshed. Western partisans saw their chosen party in a simplistic light, projecting their own hopes and fears onto their every action."