There is much to find out about this world, and the individuals who populate it that make it more compelling. Joseph Needham is one of those people. Simon Winchester's reading of this book did a wonderful job of bringing this man and his world to life.
There are many individuals who seek to find out as much as they can about certain things. There has to be a certain zeal for life that propels this kind of search. This is the true adventurer who is able to fill his days with these discoveries. The inclusiveness of Needham's approach to his understanding of China is to be admired.
A terrific biography of a fascinating man with a fascinating - and fascinated - mind, excellently read by the author. I had once noticed the great work (Science and Civilization In China) was held by the library (HPL), but now is not, but it certainly catapulted to my (ever expanding) must read list entirely because of this of this biography.
I can imagine an over-precocious fifteen year old rebutting a teacher 'but Joseph Needham smoked and drank and danced and went with a lot of girls and he accomplished great things' after reading (or listening) to this book.
This author has far-reaching talents of research on subjects that seem to capture his interest. Sometimes he's sarcastic,cynical, stuffy in a posh sort of manner (likely due to his education & accent) and yet I'm always hooked by his writing. A bit like Bill Bryson in random trivia forays when one subject veers into another - rather ADD in interests. I've learned some obscure facts, no one will ever ask me about & will be forever stuck in the gray matter folds, yet I find him fascinating. First & probably my favorite book, The Professor & the Madman, on how the OED came together in early 1900's.
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