Book: Hong Kong on the Brink | Syd Goldsmith

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Screen Shot 2019-09-12 at 4.27.35 PM.png

Book: Hong Kong on the Brink | Syd Goldsmith


Hong Kong on the Brink: An American diplomat relives 1967’s darkest days

by Syd Goldsmith

Weight 380 g

Dimensions 140 × 216 mm

Pages 280

Binding Paperback

SKU: 978-988-77927-8-9

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Syd Goldsmith’s first taste of China’s Cultural Revolution is blood on his tongue. It’s 1967. Hong Kong is simmering, plagued by communist-led riots and strikes, crippled transport, punishing water-rationing, takeover threats from Beijing and roadside bombs. And Syd — the only Caucasian Foreign Service Officer at the American Consulate General who speaks Cantonese — is made responsible for analysis of the Hong Kong government’s ability to survive. The CIA station chief and the head of Macau’s gold syndicate play major roles in Syd’s story, along with Newsweek’sSydney Liu and Maynard Parker, and a steady stream of inquiring foreign correspondents and China-watchers. Richard Nixon makes a cameo appearance in this riveting memoir of a year when Hong Kong’s “borrowed time” seemed about to expire.


“Fifty years ago today, Syd Goldsmith was almost beaten to death by an angry mob in Hong Kong. On May 11, 1967, amid rumours of unrest at a factory, Syd, then a young US diplomat on his first offshore posting, was sent out into the streets to get a first-hand look. He quickly found himself in deep trouble amid the now-famed Hong Kong riots. To this day, he counts himself lucky to be alive.” — Listen to the podcast on News Lens Radio

“A lively, informative and well written effort and, for me, an evocative trip down memory lane. The personality sketches are deft and right on the mark.” — Burton Levin, former US Ambassador, Consul General and Asia Society Director in Hong Kong

“Phil Whelan meets author Syd Goldsmith, whose new book Hong Kong on the Brink documents his experiences here as an American diplomat during the 1967 riots.” — Bookmarks at Radio 3

“Ex-US diplomat recounts how deadly 1967 Hong Kong unrest became full-blown riot after pro-Beijing figures stepped in: Syd Goldsmith says the trouble caught officials by surprise and recalls being besieged by angry protesters in the streets.” — South China Morning Post

Syd Goldsmith was interviewed in Apple Daily (in Chinese)

Podcast: How to write a page-turning memoir that agents and publishers will love — Glenn Leibowitz, host of Write With Impact, hears from former American diplomat Syd Goldsmith. “In our conversation, which we conducted in person in Taipei, Syd shares how, despite never considering himself a writer for many years, he eventually became a published author. He explains why it’s never too late to publish your first book: He published his first novel at the age of 68, and his latest book at the age of 79.”

About the author

As the American Consulate General’s Hong Kong/Macau Political Officer during the 1967 Emergency, Syd Goldsmith had access to everything the CIA, a Chinese “Deep Throat,” and Hong Kong Government contacts would share as the colony faced Chinese Cultural Revolution-inspired threats to its very existence.

He has been a diplomat, advisor to Chinese companies, concert flutist, and university professor during his 40 years in Chinese places. Syd, Hsiu-chen and their two children call Taipei home.