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Bomb, Book and Compass: Joseph Needham and the Great Secrets of China

Biography / MemoirOut of Print

By: Simon Winchester

336 pages, 2 endpages + 20 black and white integrated

Penguin Books

Paperback | Jun 2009 | #181862 | ISBN-13: 9780141011585
Out of Print Details

About this book

The seventeenth-century philosopher-statesman Francis Bacon famously declared that nothing had changed the world more profoundly than three great inventions: gunpowder, printing and the compass. What he didn't know was that the Chinese had been successfully using all three, long before the west ever 'invented' them. And yet it was another 300 years before a remarkable man called Joseph Needham embarked on his epic, lifetime's work which would finally set the record straight.

Inspired by a wartime mission to occupied China, he started writing what would become a twenty-four-volume masterpiece, chronicling the nation's astonishing history of invention and technology over five thousand years. It was, and remains, the greatest work on China ever created in the Western world. In "Bomb, Book and Compass", Simon Winchester tells the story of Joseph Needham, his magnificent book, the passion that inspired it, and the remarkable rise of the Chinese nation that continues to this day.

'An astonishing story' Sunday Times 'A fascinating, revealing story, told with Winchester's customary brio and wit' Telegraph 'One man's graceful, diverting account of another man's passion' The Times 'Succinct, enjoyable, engaging' Financial Times

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Simon Winchester was born and educated in England and was a foreign correspondent for 30 years, reporting for much of that time from Asia, including mainland China and Hong Kong. His many highly-acclaimed and bestselling books include The River at the Centre of the World, The Surgeon of Crowthorne and The Map that Changed the World. He now lives in New York and in western Massachusetts.

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