The authors have selected nearly one hundred extracts from contem porary Western diplomatic and missionary reports, from books, news papers, private journals, travel accounts, diaries etc., in short a wide range of Western reportage on this major revolt in nineteenth century China. All the extracts are contemporary, and nearly all are from eyewitnesses, since the emphasis is on the reportage, not on Western opinion or policy. Some are printed for the first time, from various manuscript collections; most are here re-printed for the first time. Several, including one of the longest, have been translated from the original French. The collection will be a valuable source book for teachers of courses on China since the Opium wars, providing an interesting and varied collection of material for student essays, as well as for the research of all scholars interested in the Taiping and in the Western presence in mid-nineteenth century China. It provides a good overview of the response to this major crisis of Chinese society over a twenty-year period. It supplements the Michael collection of translations with a further basic set of documents on the Taiping. The documents are, as far as possible, left to speak for themselves; commentary is kept to a minimum.