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eBook The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom (P.S.) ePub

eBook The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom (P.S.) ePub

by Simon Winchester

  • ISBN: 0060884614
  • Category: Historical
  • Subcategory: Biography
  • Author: Simon Winchester
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (April 28, 2009)
  • Pages: 352
  • ePub book: 1335 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1650 kb
  • Other: lrf docx rtf lrf
  • Rating: 4.3
  • Votes: 267

Description

Simon Winchester is the acclaimed author of many books, including The Professor and the Madman, The Men Who United the States, The Map That Changed the World, The Man Who Loved China, A Crack in the Edge o. .

Simon Winchester is the acclaimed author of many books, including The Professor and the Madman, The Men Who United the States, The Map That Changed the World, The Man Who Loved China, A Crack in the Edge of the World, and Krakatoa, all of which were New York Times bestsellers and appeared on numerous best and notable lists. I really have mixed feelings about this book. I bought it because I found the subject extremely interesting and Needham was clearly presented as a very important actor in our knowledge of China and Chinese culture and history in general.

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

Home Simon Winchester The Man Who Loved China: The .

Home Simon Winchester The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist. The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist, . The book, the first volume of which was published in 1954, and which had swollen to eighteen volumes by the time Needham died in 1995, continues to be produced today and now stands at twenty-four volumes, with 15,000 pages and 3 million words. It is called Science and Civilisation in China, and it is universally acknowledged to be the greatest work of explanation of the Middle Kingdom that has yet been created in western history.

Includes bibliographical references (p. -294) and index. 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.

Start by marking The Man Who Loved China: The .

Start by marking The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read. It's a good and enjoyable book, and I don't think I can stomach 24 volumes of Needham's work, but it inevitably feels at one remove to the true inspiration of all that passion an effort. A Chinese aphorism, written in his college room, would be a suitable epitaph: "The man departs - there remains his shadow.

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The "New York Times"-bestselling author of "The Professor and the Madman" and "Krakatoa" returns with the remarkable story of the growth of a great nation, and the eccentric and adventurous scientist who defined its essence for the world. 19 people like this topic.

In this book, including all relevant direct quotations from Needham’s .

In this book, including all relevant direct quotations from Needham’s writings, AD and BC are used instead, for convenience. But he knew more or less what to expect: The man who is selected to come to China, his letter of appointment had stated, must be ready for anything.

Both epic and intimate, The Man Who Loved China tells the sweeping story of China through Needham's remarkable life. He lives in Manhattan and in western Massachusetts. Here is an unforgettable tale of what makes men, nations, and, indeed, mankind itself great-related by one of the world's inimitable storytellers.

Forgotten Voices of the Somme: The Most Devastating Battle of the Great War in the Words of Those Who Survived by Joshua Levine (Paperback, 2009).

The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom by Author and Historian Simon Winchester (Paperback, 2009). Forgotten Voices of the Somme: The Most Devastating Battle of the Great War in the Words of Those Who Survived by Joshua Levine (Paperback, 2009). The Discovery of the Titanic by Robert D. Ballard, Rick Archbold (Hardback, 1987). The Art of War by Tzu Sun (Hardback, 2008).

In sumptuous and illuminating detail, Simon Winchester, bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman, 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 world's most technologically advanced country.

Comments

Mezilabar Mezilabar
I really have mixed feelings about this book. I bought it because I found the subject extremely interesting and Needham was clearly presented as a very important actor in our knowledge of China and Chinese culture and history in general. Winchester indeed took on a gigantic task which in a way mirrors Needham's own lifelong quest. There is a tremendous amount of work on Winchester's part and certainly much interesting information. However after reading it I was left with a sense of frustration. The central question which is brought up time and again as the object of Needham's continuously expanding work, why was China arrested in its way to discovering modern science? why did it happen in Europe? is not answered, so there is a nagging sense of an interruptus. The detailed account of the growth of the project as Needham swims in the treacherous waters of old Chinese texts and cannot find a course which excludes all those desert islands and really maps a coherent picture reminds me of a story by Jorge Luis Borges, called "Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote". In this story the critic Pierre Menard trying to interpret Cervantes' famous novel is unable to make a selection and ends up producing an identical copy of the original work. So Needham's huge effort seems to have led to a work that is more of a catalogue than a selection showing an underlying trend or logical course.
Winchester is more of a journalist than a writer or a thinker, and while I wish again to express my respect for his intensive work I am sorry to say that my impression is that of the chronicle of a quest that falls short of its promise.
Mr.Savik Mr.Savik
Winchester really is a magnificent writer. Although I am a bigger fan of some of his other works, this certainly fits well into the rest of his life's opus. Somehow he manages to cover bits of science, technology, philosophy, history, (his love) geology, archaeology, culture, politics and even uses his flair for travel writing with great ethos and pathos to tell an interesting story.

Aside from the breadth of topics he covers while telling the story of one man's life's work, he writes about and discusses topics which should be part of everyone's personal cultural knowledge. As a small example, he makes mention of one of the real life archaeologists who served as a model for Indiana Jones - though sadly he only makes the direct connection in a footnote which many may not likely read.

Though I had originally picked up the book out of general curiosity (not to diminish the fact that I'm on a quest to read every word Winchester has written), I find that it also neatly fits into providing some spectacular background on the concept of "Big History" (see Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History (California World History Library)) as it relates to China's place in the world. In particular "Needham's question" (briefly: Why, given China's illustrious past, did modern science not develop there after the 1500's?) turned around becomes a interesting illustration on the course of human history and the rises and falls of cultures and societies since the holocene.

For those who may miss the significance, I was particularly impressed with the overall literary power imbued to the book by the use of the bookended contrasts of Needham's Chongqing at the opening of the work and modern day Chongqing at the close. This is one of the few times that the mechanics behind how Winchester, the master of telling often non-linear stories, has been patently obvious to me. I hope one day to unravel all of his other secrets. I can only imagine that in his heavy research of his topics, he somehow internally sees the ultimately magical ways in which he will present the information.

I will note that, in contrast to some of his past works, this one had some better physical maps and photos to go along with the text, although I was highly disappointed in their unusuable presentation in the e-book version of the book. (Higher dpi versions would have gone a long way, particularly with the ability to zoom in on them in most e-readers.) For those unfortunate enough to have the e-book copy, I commend picking up a physical copy of the book for better interpretations of the photos and maps included.
Ffyan Ffyan
If you look back at the titles of some of Mr. Winchester's older books, it's clear that Joseph Needham, the subject of this book, isn't the only man who loves China. Clearly, Winchester himself has a fascination for Asia and China. Admittedly, I have not read these earlier titles, having come to Mr. Winchester--like many I suspect--through the pages of The Professor and the Madman. However, I have kept up with his work since then and it's nice to see him able to bring his passion for China to the fore again.

Today, Joseph Needham is most remembered for the decades he spent putting together Science and Civilization in China, a series of books documenting the many advances made in China that pre-date the better known inventions/inventors in the West. What this ultimately means, as it was the West that took widest advantage of scientific and technical successes, is open to debate; however, it is fascinating to think about how far ahead the Chinese must have been at various points in their history, even into antiquity. A less inward-looking culture might have changed the entire face of world history.

Mr. Winchester gives us tidbits of these scientific facts to contemplate, but this book is really about Needham himself: a Cambridge scholar who was undoubtedly brilliant but in many ways controversial. He was very sexually liberated for his time, being married to a devoted woman who tolerated his many affairs, including a long-term affair with a Chinese woman, Lu Gwei-djen, who was likely the inspiration for much of his passion about China. He was sympathetic to communism and maintained a connection to communist China even when such a relationship was frowned upon. He dabbled in realpolitik which often caused him grief. But in the end, it is his work that is best remembered.

He started his career as a very successful scientist who parlayed his success and love of China into a diplomatic assignment to the country at the height of World War II. In the midst of his diplomatic duties--being a materials conduit for Chinese scientists--he made a number of trips across China, collecting information and artifacts which he periodically shipped home. When he returned, instead of resuming his scientific work, he devoted the rest of his life to history, assessing the materials he'd brought back and writing his magnum opus.

Mr. Winchester has an amazing facility for telling the stories of eccentrics and science. Here, he shows his skills yet again. This is a wonderfully readable book about a comparatively unknown scholar who deserves better. Mr. Winchester has done Needham--and the reading public--a real service.