The Man Who Loved China

The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom

Winchester, Simon

Book - 2009
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Man Who Loved China
The extraordinary story of Joseph Needham, the brilliant Cambridge scientist who unlocked the most closely held secrets of China--long the world's most technologically advanced country. This married Englishman, a freethinking intellectual, while working at Cambridge University in 1937, fell in love with a visiting Chinese student, with whom he began a lifelong affair. He became fascinated with China, and embarked on a series of extraordinary expeditions to the farthest frontiers of this ancient empire. He searched everywhere for evidence to bolster his conviction that the Chinese were responsible for hundreds of mankind's most familiar innovations--including printing, the compass, explosives, suspension bridges, even toilet paper--often centuries before the rest of the world. His dangerous journeys took him across war-torn China to far-flung outposts, consolidating his deep admiration for the Chinese people. After the war, Needham began writing what became a seventeen-volume encyclopedia, Science and Civilisation in China.--From publisher description.

Publisher: New York, NY : Harper Perrenial , 2009
Edition: 1st Harper Perrenial ed
ISBN: 9780060884611
Branch Call Number: B-Ne289w 2009
Characteristics: xii, 316, 16 p. :,ill., maps ;,21 cm


From Library Staff

Join the discussion on March 10, 2015. In sumptuous and illuminating detail, Winchester brings to life the extraordinary story of Joseph Needham — the brilliant Cambridge scientist, freethinking intellectual, and practicing nudist who unlocked the
most closely held secrets of China, once the wo... Read More »

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Dec 09, 2014
  • Ron@Ottawa rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Well written and a lot of details, this book will appeal to readers that fall in the 'special interest' category. I can see some academics would find it engaging. However, if you do not share an interest in the subject matter, you will find it totally lacking in entertainment value.

Jun 22, 2013
  • WVMLBookClubTitles rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

In this fascinating biography, Winchester brings to life Joseph Needham, the brilliant and eccentric Cambridge scientist who brought to light China’s historic achievements and innovations during a time when the West regarded China as hopelessly backward. Winchester touches lightly on these innovations, but prefers to concentrate on the colourful life of Needham who, along with being a nudist and communist, had a lifelong affair with the Chinese graduate student who sparked his love for China in the first place.

Feb 03, 2010

Title for June 2010


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