I would give this 10 stars if I could. I have read three other books by Winchester and was honestly rather disappointed with them. But in this work, he has exceeded all his other efforts put together. I was transported into Joseph Needham's world of Cambridge in the first half of the twentieth century. This brilliant man reached the pinnacle of achievement in science, languages, and history. After a remarkable career in biochemistry, he switched to the history of science in China in his late thirties. He not only mastered the Chinese language, but became the world authority on the history of science in China. He recognized that the Chinese were often far ahead of the rest of the world in science. His objective was to write "a" book about the topic, but it soon grew to some 17 major volumes that took 5 decades of his life to complete.
I relished every word of this wonderful work and can't imagine anyone who wouldn't be equally enthralled by this tale. An absolute winner.
In top 10%. Not higher only because I feel guilty listening to fiction rather than "serious" books on science or social issues. But among the fiction books I've listened to, this is definitely in the top 5%. A cliffhanger I did not want to put down.
Definitely Maisie. Inspiring heroine.
Different accents, good delivery without overdoing it, brings characters to life.
Yes. Very hard to stop!
This isn't a heavy philosophical book. It's a feel-good story with an inspiring heroine and lots of details about what it was like to be a young woman in London and France during WWI. Loved it. Now I'm hooked on the entire series. I predict that PBS will come out with a Masterpiece Theatre series based on these books.
Meera Simhan deserves an Academy Award for her fabulous narration of this book. The story captivated me quickly, but although it is a good tale, it is the narrator who makes this audiobook shine like no other. Simhan's total command of dozens of accents (from Delhi to New York) carries you from the exotic to the mundane, but they are always easy to understand. I have never been so intrigued with Indian accents before, but Simhan's lilting voice made me want to imitate these wonderful dialects. I could listen to this over and over just for the fabulous narration.
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