I haven’t forgotten that I need to report on the New York launch of the Encyclopedia of China, when Simon Winchester enthralled a high-powered audience of China experts with a beautifully told story about the brilliant, womanizing Joseph Needham (subject of his latest book, The Man Who Loved China). I mention his womanizing, as Simon did, because it was integral to Needham’s story — in fact, it was a young Chinese lover who first inspired his interest in China, and apparently many of his young female research assistants played a more intimate role in his life, too. It was not the usual presentation to a group of National Committee on U.S.-China Relations members, who are more accustomed to discussion of policy and leadership issues, trade conflicts, and military and human rights confrontations. But one of them told me that Simon’s presentation had been as good as a one-man Broadway show, and for all the amusing aspects of Needham’s story it is also one of considerable relevance to those of us working today to help Westerners understand China. The Berkshire Encyclopedia of China was on display and part of the conversation, and I did my first interview about it, with World Journal, the major U.S.-based Chinese newspaper, as you can see here.
Encyclopedia of China introduced in World Journal
About the Author: Karen Christensen
Karen Christensen is the CEO of Berkshire Publishing.