Works by Scott D. Seligman


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Murder in Manchuria: The True Story of a Jewish Virtuoso, Russian Fascists, a French Diplomat, and a Japanese Spy in Occupied China

Scott D. Seligman                        

Potomac Books

University of Nebraska Press


2024 Independent Publisher Book Awards, Gold Medal Winner

American Bookfest 20th Annual Best Book Awards, Winner

2023 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards, Finalist


When Semyon Kaspé and Lydia Shapiro parted on a street in the city of Harbin after a night of music and merriment on August 24, 1933, neither could possibly anticipate the dark sequence of events that loomed ahead. They would set the Manchurian Jewish community on edge, arouse worldwide opprobrium and leave behind a mystery that was never fully solved.

The abduction of young Kaspé that night became a watershed event in the history of the so-called Empire of Manchukuo, a large region forcibly severed from northeast China two years earlier and declared independent by the Japanese Army. It played out against the backdrop of an explosive mixture of nationalities, religions and ideologies and pulled in an improbable cast of Jewish merchants, Japanese military men, White Russian thugs, French diplomats, Chinese judges, an Italian spy-for-hire and even Pu Yi, the deposed Emperor of China. The case would help unmask Manchukuo as the Japanese puppet state it was.

Part cold-case thriller and part social history, the true, macabre tale of Semyon Kaspé is told in the context of the larger story of the lives of the 20,000 mostly Russian Jews who had called this northeastern Chinese city home at the beginning of last century. It recounts the factors that led to their arrival and their hasty exodus, despite a grand Japanese plan to keep them there and use them for their later conquest of Asia. And it posits a solution to the mystery of who ordered the kidnapping, which has puzzled historians for decades.


Book Launch Video


Watch the video of the launch of Murder in Manchuria , co-presented by the Museum of Chinese in America and the Museum at Eldridge Street in New York City on November 15, 2023: 




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