Jun 21, 2021
The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom
Posted by Simon Winchester

In illuminating detail, Winchester, bestselling author of The Professor the Madman Elegant scrupulous NY Times Book Review Krakatoa A mesmerizing page turner Time tells the story of Joseph Needham, the Cambridge scientist who unlocked the most closely held secrets of China, long the world s most technologically advanced country No cloistered don,In illuminating detail, Winchester, bestselling author of The Professor the Madman Elegant scrupulous NY Times Book Review Krakatoa A mesmerizing page turner Time tells the story of Joseph Needham, the Cambridge scientist who unlocked the most closely held secrets of China, long the world s most technologically advanced country No cloistered don, this tall, married Englishman was a freethinking intellectual A nudist, he was devoted to quirky folk dancing In 1937, while working as a biochemist at Cambridge, he fell in love with a visiting Chinese student, with whom he began a lifelong affair His mistress persuaded him to travel to her home country, where he embarked on a series of expeditions to the frontiers of the ancient empire He searched for evidence to bolster a conviction that the Chinese were responsible for hundreds of humankind s most familiar innovations including printing, the compass, explosives, suspension bridges, even toilet paper often centuries before others His journeys took him across war torn China, consolidating his admiration for the Chinese After the war, he determined to announce what he d discovered began writing Science Civilisation in China, describing the country s long history of invention technology By the time he died, he d produced, almost single handedly, 17 volumes, making him the greatest one man encyclopedist ever Epic intimate, The Man Who Loved China tells the sweeping story of China thru Ne

  • Title: The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom
  • Author: Simon Winchester
  • ISBN: 9780060884598
  • Page: 405
  • Format: Hardcover
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    The Man Who Loved China The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom In illuminating detail Winchester bestselling author of The Professor the Madman Elegant scrupulous NY Times Book Review Krakatoa A mesmerizing page turner Time tells the story of Joseph Needham th

    Will Byrnes

    He decided initially to make a great historical list, a list of every mechanical invention and abstract idea the building blocks of modern world civilization that had been first conceived and made in China If he could managed to establish a flawless catalog of just what the Chinese had created first, of exactly which of the world s ideas and concepts had actually originated in the Middle Kingdom, he would be on to something If he could delve behind the unforgettable remark that emperor Qianlong [...]


    No knowledge is ever to be wasted or despised Dr Needham, snr Every hobby has an intellectual angle, and Needham jr was obsessively interested in everything.An exhilarating change from my usual fare though it fits with my fondness for China and Cambridge a biography of Joseph Needham 1900 1995 , an eccentric but brilliant multilingual Cambridge biochemist who fell in love with a Chinese woman, then her language and her country, becoming the world expert in and ambassador for the history of scien [...]

    Riku Sayuj

    Great background reading for anyone contemplating the epic task of taking on the fifteen and volumes of Science and Civilisation in China one the greatest compendiums of knowledge, a supreme feat of imagination and will power, and one of the most lasting bridges built between the east and the west.Winchester provides the historic and political backdrop for the composition and allows us to understand why it was such an important work why it was so necessary and so brave an undertaking, and how c [...]

    Jason Koivu

    Joseph NeedhamA man with a beautiful mind, one seemingly forged for the hard sciences he worked in a college laboratory at Cambridge University specializing in embryology and morphogenesis betrayed itself with that willful miscreant known as love, and in this case it was a love for China Needham threw himself into the study of Chinese history and some thought at the time that he d thrown away all he had to offer the world But he provided them wrong, proved there was in him than they d imagined, [...]

    Jim Fonseca

    A biography of Joseph Needham One of the ancients said a full life, like a full day, is long enough When Needham died in his early 90 s, two days after he came to work his usual full day in the library, he went to a long deserved rest He was the author and is some cases co author or organizer of the 20 plus volumes of Science and Civilization in China, a work of such magnitude that it has been compared to the OED The work, published between 1954 and 2008 is still in print, and it has has been un [...]


    Yet another fascinating book and story by a master There is one thing you can say about Simon Winchester, he does like a good polymath and that love of learning and the learned shines through every page.In a world where the next Vice President of the USA or President if the Bible s allotted three score and ten are anything to go by could be someone who could accurately be described as a polymoron someone dangerously ignorant of just about everything except, obviously, how to skin a moose such a [...]


    Simon Winchester never fails to entice the reader, and here in the audiobook version he marvelously reads his own book He teaches effortlessly He infuses humor into his lines He writes about characters and places and times that are interesting His books focus not only on the details but also encompass the larger picture you are delivered not only one man s life but also world events In this book we follow Joseph Needham from childhood to death He lived from 1900 1995 He was a bio chemist at Camb [...]


    When I was a student at the University of Oslo studying Chinese, Joseph Needham used to come up to our department As one of the few students with a car, it was my job to pick him up at the airport, ferry him about town, and generally take care of him I was with him at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo while he studied the construction of the Viking ships, remarking at some of the similarities with ancient Chinese shipbuilding a subject mentioned in the book When he left one of his ever present ciga [...]


    I found this book an absolutely wonderful read Its title is perfect Joseph Needham was an academic, a socialist and a biochemist and he did indeed love China very deeply.The first part of the book covers his trip to China in 1943 China was at war with the Japanese, and they had overrun a third of the country to the east He was sent to western China which was free of Japanese influence His task there was to do what he could help Chinese scientists carry on working basically he was an enabler he g [...]

    Dr. Carl Ludwig Dorsch

    A chatty, repetitive, but easily readable map of the life of Joseph Needham, a diligent weaving of what must have been many hundreds of notes into an often cinematic narrative with countless curious digressions along the way.As with perhaps any biography though, I am left with questions, large and small I ll list four I cannot escape Before that however, I feel compelled to note the occasional and surprising instances of Winchester verging on unpleasant condescension toward the Chinese themselve [...]


    Slightly rickety account of the remarkable 20th century life of Joseph Needham, Cambridge Master and author of the mega sized multi volume Science Civilisation In China In a wildly stormy life that veered from being a founding father of UNESCO to meetings with Mao Zhou EnLai before there was a Peoples Republic, Mr Needham saw quite a lot Needham was in a pivotal position during the many phases of the origin of Modern China as a British Foreign Office scientific representative, arriving in the co [...]


    Simon Winchester does the kind of research that could never be accomplished with a Google search His work is layered and so impossibly thorough that reading his books makes me fearful that this kind of scholarship could become extinct with the quick draw research that the net generation has become accustomed to The Man Who Loved China is about Joseph Needham, a researcher much like Winchester In fact, it is very meta that one of the world s greatest researchers should write a book about one of t [...]


    As I read this book, I couldn t help thinking of a Broadway tune written back in 1917 called China We Owe a Lot to You Part of it goes Chin a , way out in Asia Mi norNo country could be fi nerBe neath the sun.You gave us silk to dress our lovely women in Twas worth the priceAnd when we couldn t get potatoesYou gave us riceWe mix chop suey with your chop sticksYou ve taught us quite a few tricksWe never knewWe take our hats off to one thing we ve seenYour laundries keep our country cleanChin a , [...]


    I thoroughly enjoyed this book I do not often hand out a 5 one was for Winchester s The Professor and the Madman and will decide on the start count after I finish this review It is worth no less than a 4.5 if such a ranking existed.After reading The Professor and the Madman I could not imagine the author topping or equaling that book While it may not be everyone s opinion I thought that that story was so well researched, written, and presented even the afterwards bits that anything else he wrote [...]

    Andrew Georgiadis

    Also known as The Man Who Loved China in American editions because our versions are necessarily dumbed down , this is the story of Joseph Needham s quest to understand an Eastern culture to which he was introduced in adulthood A professor of chemistry and one with no official qualifications to undertake a work of rigorous history, he embarked on one of the most ambitious, lengthy, and meticulously researched pieces of scholarship in human history At twenty eight volumes and still in print, Scien [...]


    My major problem with this book was that the author never gave me any reason to care who Joseph Needham was The book is entirely about Needham s life there s not really anything about the work that s purportedly the reason for the book his histories of China It was all justabout the life of this guy who doesn t seem very likeable he was a big time communist and supporter of the rise of Mao, as well as a personal friend of Zhou Enlai Even though he did have some interesting adventures, Winchester [...]

    Grace Tjan

    Ever since I picked up the condensed, popular version of Needham s book years ago, I ve been curious about the man who wrote it Now Simon Winchester provides us with the biography of the fascinating man behind the book, an eccentric Cambridge Don of prodigious intellect, an uncritical China lover, a playboy who spent most of his life in a menage a trois with his wife and mistress, as well as a comitted Catholic and socialist The most interesting part of the book is the section describing Needham [...]


    A history professor friend of mine gave me this book, as he dreceived 2 copies, with the intro that he had no interestin the history of China, much less the history of technologyin China, yet he found it fascinating Author Winchester does indeed tell a good tale, I m certainhe could write an interesting yarn about grass growing Thesubject here though is the eccentric, brilliant, Cambridgesmartypants Joseph Needham, a fellow who picks up languages likethe average person does groceries Apparently [...]


    hmmm has brought back their Big Deal, 500 ebooks at 85% off, and one can t go very wrong getting a big 6 published Harper Collins, in this case non fiction history work at 1.99 well, it s 316 pages, less the 20% of the book that is the searchable index so popular to include with ebooks obvious marketing trick, since most ebook readers permit searches in any case I forgive 250 pages at 1.99 is still less than.01c a page the penny dreadful returns there s already a pretty professional review here [...]

    Kris Madaus

    I really like the other Simon Winchester books I have read including Krakatoa The Day the World Exploded August 27, 1883 and A Crack in the Edge of the World America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906, so I had high hopes for this book I wasn t completely let down, but it certainly wasn t his best.One reason for this is probably the slightly less earth shattering subject When you compare this book, a biography of Joseph Needham, to oe of the biggest volcanic eruptions in recent history [...]


    Love Simon Winchester He s the literary equivalent of PBS s Ken Burns an incredibly deft interpreter of history, who makes each subject spring to vivid life for his audience I would watch a documentary on literally ANYTHING Ken Burns decided was a worthy subject, and read the same for Winchester He s a master of non fiction writing, and if you haven t read his Krakatoa, Or the Day the World Exploded, do yourself a big ol favor and get it out from the library now So, my fault with this book has n [...]


    This book got me from the very start with his constant question of Why no developement I was very impressed by the comment of former Secretary of State Haye Haye about 1920 to the effect that one could tell what policy to adopt for the next five hundred years by watching China, despite the at that time apparent lack of effect China had on the world What I love about the book overall is Needham s single minded devotion to learning in detail about the language, although there is than one, culture [...]


    As another man who loves China 18 years in Taiwan , I can t decide if Needham is just an interesting British eccentric or a total tool Devout Christian, unwavering Communist, free love enthusiast and devoted nudist, Morris dancer and check that out on youtube if you re not familiar with it and according to the book all around egotistical fat head, Needham is certainly a character and his accomplishments in bringing the truth of China s early inventiveness to the West cannot be underestimated But [...]


    A book about a man that wrote a book doesn t exactly sound like a formula for an entertaining work but Winchester pulls it off It tells the story of Joseph Needham who spent his 90something years writing the definitive history of Science Civilisation in China which he typed with 2 fingers While it does read like a pop history book and has been consequently criticised on those grounds, it does filter a huge amount of information to a layman like myself The fact remains that here is the story of a [...]

    Val Dusek

    Great subject, well written, but lacks the philosophy, politics, and science of Needham.Winchester s life of Joseph Needham is indeed well written, but we still need a full and knowledgeable life of Needham Winchester is good on Needham s sex life and its role in his initial love of China discretely avoided in most academic discussions of his work , on his early travels in China, and on the controversy about his accusation that the US used germ warfare in the Korean War.However, Winchester s ac [...]


    If you have an interest in China, science or British and American history in the 20th Century this book is for you A fascinating story of a British professor every bit as good as The Professor and the Madman and another story of a remarkable book to come out of a British University.


    This is the story of Joseph Needham, a polymath Cambridge don who became enad of China after meeting a Chinese scholar, Lu Gwei Djen, who also became his long time mistress He went to China during the second world war as a British diplomat, charged with determining what materials and support that Chinese universities needed to continue to conduct research, given the circumstances Once there he took the opportunity to collect books and documents, and otherwise research the history of science in C [...]

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    This book should be of interest to both those who are interested in remarkable individuals as well as those interested in the history of Chinese invention.Joseph Needham 1900 1992 , a biochemist with a bright future at Cambridge, became fascinated by Chinese language and history The story of Joseph Needham, his determination and passion, his relationships, intelligence and eccentricity is interesting of itself The fact that he turned his formidable investigative intelligence to uncovering China [...]


    A story of an eccentric English scientist, Joseph Needham, who fell in love with China, having fallen in love with a female Chinese scientist first He got interested in Chinese scientific achievements, and in 1942 he organized a rescue expedition to help Chinese scientists survive the hard times of the Japanese invasion From the moment of his landing in Chungking, he found himself mesmerized with Chinese ways of doing things and their vast and ancient scientific knowledge His stay expanded from [...]

    Joshua Rigsby

    This book follows the life of the eccentric Cambridge professor Joseph Needham as he becomes enraptured by the intellectual history of China Needham was a fascinating character to say the least A committed nudist and Morris dancer, a polyglot and a dogged researcher, it would be difficult to find his equal in any epoch of history The research and discoveries he made about the intellectual advancements of the Chinese are still being mined to this day Simon Winchester does well with this story, te [...]

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