The Man Who Loved China group read

Snak75 Books Challenge for 2014

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The Man Who Loved China group read

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1MarthaJeanne
Redigeret: okt 27, 2014, 11:32am

The Man who loved China

I just picked this up from the library. I'll be reading in German.

2hailelib
okt 27, 2014, 11:36am

I've picked up a library copy but I need to finish another book before I start.

3sjmccreary
okt 27, 2014, 5:09pm

I picked this up from the library today, and I'll also be waiting to begin reading.

4aulsmith
okt 28, 2014, 7:48am

I read it several years ago and will chime in if anything occurs to me.

5ronincats
okt 30, 2014, 9:45pm

I'm picking my copy up at the library tomorrow.

6ronincats
nov 30, 2014, 5:41pm

I just finished The Man Who Loved China. It was very interesting but seemed rather prosaic in its prose and limited in scope to me, the latter probably because of its tight focus on Needham. Has anyone else been reading it?

7MarthaJeanne
nov 30, 2014, 5:49pm

I'm most of the way through. (I hope to return it to the library tomorrow.) I can't really judge the writing, as I have been reading it in German translation. I saw something recently claiming a connection between great creativity and mental illness. I think it was bipolar disorder. Needham doesn't seem quite sane to me. But then a sane man wouldn't have accomplished what he did.

8ronincats
nov 30, 2014, 5:55pm

To clarify, I felt like I got a lot of information, but not really any insight.

Martha, I don't get any sense of those kinds of mood swings in Needham's moods in the book. If anything, he may have a touch of the spectrum, with his early social awkwardness and his obsessive listing and compilation tactics.

9aulsmith
nov 30, 2014, 7:03pm

>8 ronincats: I agree. He was an interesting person, but perhaps not interesting enough for a full biography.

10MarthaJeanne
dec 1, 2014, 3:13am

Now finished. On the other hand, it's raining at about 2 degrees (C) outside and raining steadily. Maybe I'll put off going to the library.

11streamsong
dec 21, 2014, 10:06am

I finished listening to the audio version. Yes, he was more eccentric than interesting, wasn't he? Still I wasn't familiar with him at all.

I can't remember who said that if we read this we would learn very little about science in China, but they were very right. It did give me a lot of respect for the subject. I may look into The Genius of China: 3,000 Years of Science, Discovery, and Invention by Robert Temple.

What a huge and impossible task Needham took on! I can't help but think what western nations would have thought if we had learned that a Chinese scientist was taking on the whole history of western science and mathematics, 15 volumes or no.

12aulsmith
dec 21, 2014, 10:48am

There is also a three volume abridgement of Needham's book that I saw once, but even that looked pretty daunting.