Customer Reviews for

The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom (P.S. Series)

Average Rating 4
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

I was absolutely captivated reading Simon Winchester's 'The Man Who Loved China.' While reading the book you're thinking this might be just a very interesting look into the life of a very eccentric scholar. At the finish you are overwhelmed with the largeness and scop...
I was absolutely captivated reading Simon Winchester's 'The Man Who Loved China.' While reading the book you're thinking this might be just a very interesting look into the life of a very eccentric scholar. At the finish you are overwhelmed with the largeness and scope of what Mr. Winchester has documented that explaines the what and why China evolved the way it did.....and to give pause and possible insight to the reader that this might be the evolutionary path of all progressive nations....even our very own. It was quite an eye opener. If you like reading historical 19th and 20th century tales, you will find it difficult to put this book down.

posted by Anonymous on June 26, 2008

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Great Book - But Beware the Nook Version

Loved the book. As usual, Winchester's storytelling and information is unparalleled. I have one issue: I read the book on my new nook, and the footnotes appear to be inaccessible. I researched ways to read notes and all the suggested ways to do so were unavailable o...
Loved the book. As usual, Winchester's storytelling and information is unparalleled. I have one issue: I read the book on my new nook, and the footnotes appear to be inaccessible. I researched ways to read notes and all the suggested ways to do so were unavailable on this version of the ebook. Again, the book is tremendous, and there are not a excessive amount of footnotes, so I wouldn't want anyone to not read the book, but either confirm that the footnotes are fixed or get a bound copy of the book.

posted by adbond on January 25, 2010

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 2
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2008

    A reviewer

    I was absolutely captivated reading Simon Winchester's 'The Man Who Loved China.' While reading the book you're thinking this might be just a very interesting look into the life of a very eccentric scholar. At the finish you are overwhelmed with the largeness and scope of what Mr. Winchester has documented that explaines the what and why China evolved the way it did.....and to give pause and possible insight to the reader that this might be the evolutionary path of all progressive nations....even our very own. It was quite an eye opener. If you like reading historical 19th and 20th century tales, you will find it difficult to put this book down.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    In "The Man Who Loved China", Simon Winchester tells us the beguiling and utterly fascinating story of Joseph Needham - a lifelong learner, a libidinous lover, a licentious libertine, a

    This seminal work, this magnum opus, Needham's life work - spanning 50 years in the preparation and still incomplete at his death in 1995 - was, in essence, to burst the bubble of the West's parochial conceit that we are the birthplace of all that is important in science and technology.

    Life as an accomplished, well-respected biochemist on the faculty of Cambridge University simply wasn't enough for the awesome intellect of an insatiable polymath like Joseph Needham. His love affair with the history of the Middle Kingdom began concurrently with a blossoming extra-marital love for Lu Gwei-djen, one of his students. This affair, conducted in a curiously open manner for such a staunchly staid, conservative and venerable institution as Cambridge, was, equally curiously, accepted and tolerated by Dorothy Needham, his wife and scientific colleague, for the duration of all three of their lives. As Lu Gwei-djen taught him her language, Needham dove headlong into an intense exploration of China's rich, sophisticated and exciting culture and history.

    "The Man Who Loved China" is Needham's exciting story that reads with all the intensity and passion of the most exciting thrillers - the story of the birth of his love for all things Chinese; his initial explorations of a Chinese countryside torn by war with imperial Japan in the 1940s that were frequently fraught with adventure and even danger; his discovery of the astonishing history of Chinese intellectual wealth whose advancements in science and technology pre-dated those of the west by hundreds of years; and his political missteps as he is branded a Communist by McCarthy's propaganda machine and banished from the USA.

    Winchester also delves deeply into the scientific exploration of what has come to be called the "Needham question", the curious fact that despite China's prior ability to advance at an almost dizzying speed in such diverse fields as printing, explosives, navigation, hydraulics, ceramics and statecraft, its intellectual capacity fell into an almost completely moribund torpor around the time of the Renaissance, precisely the time when science in the west began the current acceleration which, for all intents and purposes, has never slowed down!

    Simon Winchester has also taken us one step beyond Needham's work. In a wonderful compelling epilogue, readers are treated to an informative tour of contemporary China and left with the open-ended question as to whether its newly accelerating pace of development will continue and how China will interact with other nations on the world stage.

    As readable as any novel, "The Man Who Loved China" is brilliantly organized, wonderfully paced, and more than complete enough while it also cleverly sidesteps the biographer's mind-numbing trap of listing tedious arcane details. Exciting narrative descriptions of action sequences, near poetic passages of scenery, cityscapes, sights and smells that seem to vividly leap off of the page directly into the reader's minds-eye and even realistic dialogue, make Winchester's wo

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 25, 2010

    Great Book - But Beware the Nook Version

    Loved the book. As usual, Winchester's storytelling and information is unparalleled. I have one issue: I read the book on my new nook, and the footnotes appear to be inaccessible. I researched ways to read notes and all the suggested ways to do so were unavailable on this version of the ebook. Again, the book is tremendous, and there are not a excessive amount of footnotes, so I wouldn't want anyone to not read the book, but either confirm that the footnotes are fixed or get a bound copy of the book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2009

    A fascinating look at Chinese contributions to the world

    We are traveling to China this summer and Joseph Needham's travels during World War II have absolutely nothing to do with what we should expect! This book, however, gives us plenty of insight into the vast contributions to civilization made by the Chinese over many, many centuries. Needham undertakes an exacting project and has just the right personality and work ethic to see it through. He is also an eccentric, socialist, genius of a man which makes the book even more compelling.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    What I did not know about China

    A great read about ancient Chinese technology and a great introduction to Chinese culture to novices. It is also a fascinating examination of a brillant, eccentric scienctist, Joseph Needham.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who has any interest in China and scienece in general.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is a terrific biography

    This is a fascinating biography of Cambridge University biochemist Joseph Needham. Although married to a scientific peer Dorothy, he fell in love with a student Lu Gwei-djen in the 1930s. She taught him her language and her love for her culture. Needham began exploring the country even as the war with Japan in the late 1930s and 1940s made it unsafe for anyone especially a British professor. Still he continued his travels and soon began to uncover the incredible historical intellect of China, investing new technologies and learning scientific secrets centuries before the west. His efforts led to McCarthy naming him a Communist and banning him from America. That did not stop him as he searched for why an anomaly occurred; while the Renaissance reawakened scientific curiosity in the West, in China suddenly scientific discovery ended. Known as the "Needham Question", this remains unresolved as China explodes into the modern world at am exponential pace that mirrors what it once did during the Middle Kingdom. This is a terrific biography.---------------

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Winchester does it again!

    I've read several of Simon Winchester's works and this is on a par with his best. He takes an interesting character and recounts an epic adventure in China. His "Professor and The Madman", "Krakatoa" and "Crack in the Edge of The World" were great but this story just flows from his pen like no other.
    Truly one of the GREAT authors of our time!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2014

    It's too bad this is a readable book, because it is poor history

    It's too bad this is a readable book, because it is poor history. The notion that Joseph Needham heroically discovered China and particularly Chinese science in the 1940s -- the theme loudly promoted by this study -- is vastly overstated. There are far more historically informed accounts of Westerners in China, who interacted with the Chinese in a scientific way, including many works by Jonathan Spence, Mary Bullock (her several books on the Rockefeller Foundation in China beginning in 1915), and multiple scholarly studies of Christian medical missionaries who worked in tandem with indigenous medicine. If Winchester's book might be defended on the grounds that Needham was more sympathetic to Chinese science than contemporaneous Westerners, that argument strikes me as weak. To be sure, many Westerners took a patronizing attitude toward Chinese science, but Needham comes across in this book as an unpleasantly arrogant, egotistical man, and a misogenist as well. He seems to be the T. E. Lawrence of World War II-era China, captivating but hardly heroic, as Winchester claims. Winchester's shrill promoting of Needham as some kind of hero ruins what might otherwise have been an informative story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 27, 2012

    Winchester's account of Joseph Needham shows a Needham-esque fas

    Winchester's account of Joseph Needham shows a Needham-esque fascination with intricate detail -- be it the social world of Edwardian England or the topography of western China. At the same time, the author shares Needham's enthusiasm for enormous questions -- How much does the Western world owe to Eastern ingenuity? What accounts for the flaring up or dying down of a society's intellectual drive? All told, the book gives a highly thought-provoking love story. You gotta admire a guy whose passion for a Chinese woman led him to tear down walls of prejudice between civilizations.

    --author of A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2009

    It's Winchester again

    If you've ever read anything by Winchester this will not be a disappointment. He has a way of bringing to life and enlightening that few others would attempt.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2009

    Good for History Lovers

    We read this for our book club and it was very interesting but I do not like historical novels written like this. I would prefer this book if it had more of a human side to the story. However, it really shows you how a lot of items that we use were thought of or originally created in China. This book makes you realize that the world is a small place and that you don't always realize what you have until it is not there any longer.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 7, 2009

    Quite a good read

    The contents are balanced. Comments on Joseph Needham by those who were not overly impressed with either his personality or scholarship results are covered toward the end of the book. The reader does get a sense of Needham's determination to expose a new western reconsideration of the Middle Kingdom's history. One does also learn of the weaknesses in Needham's character especially with regard to the practicality of socialist regimes on the world stage. Overall this was a good read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 2