Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday Salon: Bomb, Book & Compass by Simon Winchester

A few weeks ago, the British Library generously allowed me to borrow one of their expensive books for a fortnight from their document supply centre. It was one of the volumes of Joseph Needham's astonishing work 'Science and Civilisation in China', and it cost £120 a copy.

Today I am reading the story of Joseph Needham for a review in Bookmunch: Bomb, Book & Compass by Simon Winchester. It is turning out to be a surprisingly fascinating book. Although, on the face of it, Joseph Needham was a starchy, conventional, happily-married academic, he fell in love with a young woman from China - and this was to have a dramatic effect on the rest of his life.

As last week, I think I might update this post throughout the day.

17.15. I'm finding the book very interesting, but my reading has been slow today. Apart from learning about the man, I am now learning about his travels through China, and hence about China during the second world war. It is before Communism and after the Imperialism. China is ruled by a Nationalist government and has been bombarded by the Japanese for several years. The Chinese academics have been forced to retreat into the Chinese hinterland, and Needham is enlisted by the British government to go there and provide succour.


Post a Comment

Comments are subject to moderation.

<< Home