The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the by Simon Winchester

By Simon Winchester

In luxurious and illuminating aspect, Simon Winchester, the bestselling writer of The Professor and the Madman ("Elegant and scrupulous"—New York occasions publication Review) and Krakatoa ("A captivating page-turner"—Time) brings to existence the intense tale of Joseph Needham, the bright Cambridge scientist who unlocked the main heavily held secrets and techniques of China, lengthy the world's so much technologically complicated state.

No cloistered don, this tall, married Englishman was once a freethinking highbrow, who practiced nudism and was once dedicated to a unusual model of folks dancing. In 1937, whereas operating as a biochemist at Cambridge college, he immediately fell in love with a vacationing chinese language scholar, with whom he started a lifelong affair.

He quickly turned eager about China, and his mistress quickly persuaded the ever-enthusiastic Needham to trip to her domestic state, the place he launched into a chain of striking expeditions to the farthest frontiers of this historic empire. He searched all over for proof to reinforce his conviction that the chinese language have been liable for enormous quantities of mankind's so much established innovations—including printing, the compass, explosives, suspension bridges, even bathroom paper—often centuries earlier than the remainder of the area. His exciting and hazardous trips, vividly recreated by way of Winchester, took him throughout war-torn China to far-flung outposts, consolidating his deep admiration for the chinese language humans.

After the warfare, Needham was firm to inform the area what he had chanced on, and started writing his majestic Science and Civilisation in China, describing the country's lengthy and astounding historical past of invention and expertise. by the point he died, he had produced, primarily single-handedly, seventeen tremendous volumes, marking him because the maximum one-man encyclopedist ever.

either epic and intimate, The guy Who enjoyed China tells the sweeping tale of China via Needham's outstanding lifestyles. here's an unforgettable story of what makes males, countries, and, certainly, mankind itself great—related by means of one of many world's inimitable storytellers.

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

Example text

As soon as he returned from a stint researching in Freiburg—during which he added a fair fluency in German to the seven other languages (including Polish) that he now spoke with comfort—he seemed to burst with a new enthusiasm and confidence. Moreover, since his father’s death he now had a small annuity, with a sum of £6,500 invested in stocks. His uncle Arthur Needham was helping him look after it and draw its modest dividend income. His academic standing began to rise. He was much liked by Hopkins, and was favored from the moment when he joined the team, in short order winning a coveted (and paid) research studentship.

He constructed a second small Chinese dictionary that dealt neatly, if very unusually, with the 214 very basic Chinese characters called radicals. These fairly simple characters—most are made up of fewer than six strokes; those in the largest group are composed of only four—are designed to show the roots of various Chinese concepts, and they are placed usually to the left of (or less frequently above, below, or to the right of) other characters, so that the combined package makes up the intended, totally new word.

But no foreign government took action; no one helped. ” Japanese amphibious forces landed in November and, supported by bombers from the island then called Formosa and by heavy battleships moored in the Huangpu River, they poured inland along both banks of the Yangzi, their advance not even briefly halted by the carefully built copy of the Hindenburg Line behind which the Chinese had naively thought they might defend themselves. 9 The Japanese began softening-up operations in June, dropping experimental bombs on the Shanghai docks, and in the process rudely delaying Gwei-djen’s departure for London.

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