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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 – Bargain Price, May 6, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
I've now read all four of Winchesters biographies (The Professor and the Madman (1998), The Map That Changed the World (2001), The Meaning of Everything (2003)) and I would rank "China" as good as 'The Meaning', not as good as 'Professor' and better than "Map".Read more ›
I remember Joseph Needham as the Master of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University when I matriculated there as a young man in 1975, though he retired from the Mastership one year later. The Needham Research Institute at Cambridge for the study of East Asian history, science and technology preserves his name, while in China he is known as Li Yue-se, the name given to him by the woman who later became his second wife at the outset of his Chinese language studies "[i]n order to commingle her pupil's identity with his linguistic passion, and thus more effectively bind him to the wheel" (p. 40).
The descriptions I heard as an undergraduate of Needham as a "Marxist Catholic" [sic.] and "a great Chinese scholar" barely do justice to the man. Though I never remember having a conversation with the Great Man and was quite in awe of him, I often saw his slightly stooping figure - crowned somewhat mysteriously by a beret - walking in the old courts of the College. (He also sent me a telegram which I remember verbatim and treasure to this day: "Elected Scholarship Caius College. Congratulations Needham Master.")
Needham was - as Winchester says - a sociable man and invited us freshmen (including Alastair Campbell, later spin-doctor to Tony Blair) to meet him once in the Master's Lodge.Read more ›
Winchester has published quite a few books on diverse subjects. I mainly like his travel books: first a walk through South Korea, then a ship ride up the Yangzi. Given that he is an experienced travel writer, I am a bit puzzled by some of his geographical gaffes: flying over the hump from India to Kunming, the connection from British India to National China during WW2, W. claims the plane had to cross glaciers. Well, not likely. Better look it up on a map. Glacial melting can't have progressed that much since then. Or: Needham's first stop in China is Kunming, where he allegedly watches the sun set over the distant Tibetan hills on his first evening after arriving. Odd in view of the hundreds km distance from Kunming to Tibet and the fact that the city has its own hills to the West.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Simon Winchester is an amazing writer - never disappoints. And the story is like a fable! What a character. Couldn't put it down.Published 1 month ago by Nan Ayers
A delightful, informative and very readable book by the gifted writer Mr. Winchester about an extraordinary man, Mr Joseph Needham. Two delightfully eccentric and very driven men. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Michael Garsva
I have read many of Winchester's books and each of them have taught me elements of history, geography, geology, etc. that I otherwise would not learn. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jeep61
I heard about this book from a dear friend. Let me be the 'dear friend' for other future readers.
It is a fascinating read about one man's odyssey (aided especially by two... Read more
Great read. I have Chinese relatives I have always been told of the firsts invented in china this book really brought home how the west learned all of thisPublished 5 months ago by Lisa Gail Malseed
Simon Winchester is the history, geological, scientific writer par excellence. He has a talent for making non-fiction come alive as if he were telling a story. Read morePublished 6 months ago by brissolles
I love this book. Had to rebuy it as the first one was borrowed and never returned . Money well spent.Published 7 months ago by Jan wilson