Peter Goullart was Russian and fled east to Shanghai with his mother to escape the Russian Revolution. Goullart immersed himself in China, its language, culture and spiritual traditions. By 1931 his knowledge of China and its languages was sufficient for him to work as a tour guide for American Express, shepherding wealthy foreigners into the nightclubs of Shanghai and around the historical monuments of China, Japan and Indo-China. It was fun, the money was good and the borrowed lifestyle as excellent, but he found his real political home in the co-operative movement, an ethical middle ground between the extremes of authoritarian communism and unbridled capitalism. This culminated in the happy experience of living in Likiang for nine years, brilliantly evoked in Forgotten Kingdom.