BookBrowse Reviews The Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester

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The Man Who Loved China

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

by Simon Winchester

The Man Who Loved China
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  • First Published:
    May 2008, 336 pages
    May 2009, 416 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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About this Book



Simon Winchester brings to life the extraordinary story of Joseph Needham, the brilliant Cambridge scientist who unlocked the most closely held secrets of China

Simon Winchester's latest work explores the life of Joseph Needham. His subject is a fascinating one. Born in 1900, Needham can be termed nothing less than an eccentric genius. He was well-known in the British scientific community for his work in biochemistry even before he turned his attention to China. His peers were referring to him as the Erasmus of the twentieth century by the time he was 24. He published Chemical Embryology when 31, which is considered a classic and which eventually led to his election as a fellow of the Royal Society. He was also notorious for his wide range of odd interests and for being quite the womanizer.

Winchester contends that Needham was a pivotal figure in the West's understanding of Chinese history and its contributions to science. Before Needham, China was thought to be "backward, cruel, rigid," as well as ignorant and ...

Interesting Links

  • A brief video of Simon Winchester talking about Joseph Needham.
  • A history of the Second Sino-Japanese War.
  • A short biography of Needham at the Needham Research Institute.

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