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Published on Feb 4, 2009
The Authors@Google program welcomed Simon Winchester to Google's New York office to discuss his book, "The Man Who Loved China".
From Publishers Weekly: "Joseph Needham (19001995) is the man who made China China, forming the West's understanding of a sophisticated culture with his masterpiece, Science and Civilization in China, says bestselling author Winchester. In a life devoted to recording the Middle Kingdom's intellectual wealth, Needham, an eccentric, brilliant Cambridge don, made a remarkable journey from son of a London doctor through scientist-adventurer to red scare target. In Winchester's (The Professor and the Madman) estimable hands, Needham's story comes to life straightaway. From the biochemist's arrival in WWII Chongqing (the smells, of incense smoke, car exhaust, hot cooking oil, a particularly acrid kind of pepper, human waste, oleander, and jasmine) to his steely discipline when crafting his research into prose (to an old friend: I am frightfully busy. You come without an appointment, so I am afraid I cannot see you), Winchester plunges the reader into the action with hardly a break. As the author notes in an outstanding epilogue—a swirling 12-page trip through the kaleidoscope of contemporary China—he is at pains to place Needham front and center in our understanding of the nation that now plays such a huge role in American life."
Simon Winchester studied geology at Oxford and has written for Condé Nast Traveler, Smithsonian, and National Geographic. He is the author of "A Crack in the Edge of the World", "Krakatoa", "The Map That Changed the World", "The Professor and the Madman", "The Fracture Zone", "Outposts", "Korea", among many other titles. He lives in Massachusetts and in the Western Isles of Scotland.