Judy's Reviews > The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom

The Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester
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Aug 07, 10

Read in August, 2010

This book is the extraordinary story of Joseph Needham, a scientist at Cambridge University. Needham is a scholar, teacher, Morris dancer, nudist, socialist or communist (he never officially joined either party), and expert on science and technology in Chinese history. While married and living at Cambridge, he began a life-long affair with a visiting Chinese student who taught him to speak, read, and write Chinese. During World War II, Needham spent several years in China and realized that the Chinese were in the forefront of virtually every advance in technology and science for centuries while western Europe was still very primative, Returning to Cambridge after World War II, he began to write his multi-volume magnum opus, Science and Civilization in China which has been used as a standard reference work on China since that time. During the 1950s and 1960s, he was widely critized in both Great Britain and the United States for his pro-Chinese attitudes and he was a friend to many high-ranking officials of the People's Republic of China. A fascinating book that examines the significance of science and technology in Chinese history and the impact Needham has made on explaining Chinese innovations to Western readers.
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