Blogging the Bookshelf

Blogging my bookshelf – one book at a time

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Needham – “The Man Who Loved China” – Simon Winchester

March 26th, 2011 · No Comments · China, Culture, History

The book, the first volume of which was published in 1954, and which had swollen to eighteen volumes by the time Needham died in 1995, continues to be produced today and now stands at twenty-four volumes, with 15,000 pages and 3 million words. It is called Science and Civilisation in China, and it is universally acknowledged to be the greatest work of explanation of the Middle Kingdom that has yet been created in western history. And all of it was planned and a huge proportion of it written by this bespectacled, owlish, fearless adventurer—a man who, since he was also a nudist, a wild dancer, an accordion player, and a chain-smoking churchgoer, was seen by some as decidedly odd, and who had first arrived at Chongqing airport aboard the battered American warplane in the spring of 1943.

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