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Starred Review. Joseph Needham (1900–1995) is the man who made China China, forming the West's understanding of a sophisticated culture with his masterpiece, Science and Civilization in China, says bestselling author Winchester. In a life devoted to recording the Middle Kingdom's intellectual wealth, Needham, an eccentric, brilliant Cambridge don, made a remarkable journey from son of a London doctor through scientist-adventurer to red scare target. In Winchester's (The Professor and the Madman) estimable hands, Needham's story comes to life straightaway. From the biochemist's arrival in WWII Chongqing (the smells, of incense smoke, car exhaust, hot cooking oil, a particularly acrid kind of pepper, human waste, oleander, and jasmine) to his steely discipline when crafting his research into prose (to an old friend: I am frightfully busy. You come without an appointment, so I am afraid I cannot see you), Winchester plunges the reader into the action with hardly a break. As the author notes in an outstanding epilogue—a swirling 12-page trip through the kaleidoscope of contemporary China—he is at pains to place Needham front and center in our understanding of the nation that now plays such a huge role in American life. B&w photos, maps. (May)
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With The Man Who Loved China, Simon Winchester turns out another compelling, readable, and relevant tale. Any good storyteller will embellish his subject, and Winchester effortlessly keeps readers interested in Needhamâs adventuresâ"even when they flag a bit. For the most part, though, Needhamâs life is one that relatively few readers will knowâ"and one that Winchester brings to life with a passel of research and an ever-present sense of wonder for his unique subject. Despite some errors and repetition, the book is also a good starting point for any reader who seeks another path to understanding the roots of Chinese civilization.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
A very good read. I think Mr. Winchester loses a bit of objectivity in covering his history- but still an entertaining read.Published 4 days ago by Harry M.
Although Joseph Needham had naivete, poor social skills, and non-traditional ethics, his incredible brilliance and work to show the world all that China had done first in... Read morePublished 8 days ago by V. Hess
A great picture of China and how two cultures, so different, can fall in love. An optimistic book - much like Needham himself I think. Read morePublished 1 month ago by erin7engquist
Excellent choice!! The book was well written and so interesting but the great reader made it come to life. This is one I will listen to more than once.Published 2 months ago by Healthy Living
I’ve been aware of “The Man Who Loved China” for several years, and put off buying and reading the book due to how much time I actually have to read. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Lloyd Lofthouse
Fascinating! A great read, filled with little known (to me at least) information.Published 4 months ago by Robert A. Kraft