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The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom Hardcover – May 6, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 288 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

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 Needham’s adventuresâ€"even when they flag a bit. For the most part, though, Needham’s 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.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.3 pounds
  • Hardcover : 336 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0060884592
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0060884598
  • Dimensions : 6 x 1.18 x 9 inches
  • Publisher : Harper; First Edition (May 6, 2008)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 288 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
288 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on June 13, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on June 30, 2013
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15 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on December 31, 2012
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Reviewed in the United States on January 22, 2018
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Top reviews from other countries

Mr. S.J. Chan
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a fantastic book. The author is so thorough in his ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 6, 2017
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3 people found this helpful
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Jim Layfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality of the Book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 8, 2020
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Mr. P. Skeldon
5.0 out of 5 stars Another treat from Simon Winchester
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 20, 2012
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3 people found this helpful
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C. Stacey
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazon - I've received the great book!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 3, 2020
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LRKS
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Winchester.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 25, 2018
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