The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom

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 advancedcountry.

  • Hardcover
  • Pages: 328 pages
  • Average Rating: 3.79 out of 5
  • Published May 6th 2008 by Harper (NYC)
  • Original Title: The Man Who Loved China
  • ISBN: 0060884592 (ISBN13: 9780060884598)
  • Edition Language: English
  • URL: Go To Website

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 Needham’s life. Here’s a tale of what makes men, nations & humankind great—related by one of the world’s best storytellers.PrologueThe barbarian & the celestialBringing fuel in snowy weatherThe discovering of China The rewards of restlessness The making of his masterpiece Persona non grata: the certain fall from graceThe passage to the gate