Synopses & Reviews
In sumptuous and illuminating detail Simon Winchester chronicles the extraordinary story of Joseph Needham, the brilliant Cambridge scientist who turned his eccentric genius on the study of China.
In 1937 Joseph Needham fell in love with a visiting Chinese student. He soon became fascinated by China, and his mistress persuaded him to travel to her home country. Thus began his undying passion for the worlds most populous nation.
Needham tackled one of the great, unanswered historical questions: Why did a nation that had invented so much and had enjoyed 5,000 years of flourishing civilization, fail to undergo an industrial revolution, and instead spend so many modern years mired in poverty and racked by instability and revolution? By the time he died, Needham had produced seventeen immense volumes on China, marking him as the greatest one-man encyclopaedist ever.
Both epic and intimate, The Man Who Loved China tells the sweeping history of China through Needham's remarkable life. Here is an unforgettable tale by one of the world's inimitable storytellers.
"Simon Winchester's reading, like his clear, concise, graceful writing, reflects his endless fascination with his subject the British scientist Joseph Needham and with his subject's subject: Chinese scientists' every invention and contribution to every field of science over five centuries (before the West began to think of such things as the printing press and gunpowder). Winchester reads rapidly, but his diction is so precise (yet never stuffy) that not a word is lost. The vocal warmth and charm mirror his endless awe of Needham's lifetime work on his multivolume magnum opus on Chinese scientific thought. Winchester's tone reveals his delight with Needham's love affairs, his unconventional marriage and relation to his lifelong inamorata who first inspired his love of Chinese language, people and thought. As with every book he's written and narrated, Winchester makes abstruse subjects available and fascinating for every reader and listener. A Harper hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 10). (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Simon Winchester is the acclaimed author of many books, including The Professor and the Madman
, The Man Who Loved China
, A Crack in the Edge of the World
, and Krakatoa
. In 2006, Mr. Winchester was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen. He lives in western Massachusetts.
Simon Winchester is the acclaimed author of many books, including The Professor and the Madman, Atlantic, The Man Who Loved China, A Crack in the Edge of the World, and Krakatoa. In 2006, Mr. Winchester was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen. He lives in western Massachusetts.