In this involving and well-written account, Carr strains to elevate the importance of Ward, a historical footnote, a mercenary of questionable repute and eventual Qing dynasty functionary whose prime contribution was the cobbling together of the use of "superior and modern" Western weapons against backwards sword and spear carrying Taiping rebels. And by Carr's own account, Ward was only partially successful. To thank him for his assistance (which ultimately helped maintain both Western imperial domination of China, the opium trade, and the extension of the corrupt and weak Qing empire), in a relationship of dual purpose, the Manchu Qing regime (not the Chinese people)gave him an official title and a Chinese wife. Carr's pro-Western bias is strong, as is his strange love of the Ward myth, which he does his best to overblow. Carr's sourcing is spotty, and in too many places, he speculates---typically in ways that favor Ward. This book, and indeed the Ward story itself, presents a very enlightening model of how violent rogue mercenaries, terrorists, and intelligence cutouts are used to assist governments in "counter-insurgency" wars throughout history, such as the Phoenix Program.