The Man Who Loved China

That’s the new Simon Winchester book and it concerns Joseph Needham, who wrote the famous series on the history of science in China and focused the attention of the scholarly world on the question: why no capitalism in China?  This books offers a love story, a story of a quest, a story of science, a tale of politics, and did you know that Needham (unwittingly) was the guy who taught the Unabomber to use explosives?

Here is one short bit from the book:

In 1989, more than half a century after they first met, Needham and Lu Gwei-djen were married in Cambridge.  She died two years later, whereupon Needham invited three other women to marry him.  All politely declined.

Definitely recommended.  The subtitle is "The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom."  Here is one review.


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