Your audiobook is waiting…

The Water Kingdom

A Secret History of China
Narrated by: Derek Perkins
Length: 12 hrs and 56 mins
Categories: History, World
4 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

From the Yangtze to the Yellow River, China is traversed by great waterways, which have defined its politics and ways of life for centuries. Water has been so integral to China's culture, economy, and growth and development that it provides a window on the whole sweep of Chinese history. In The Water Kingdom, renowned writer Philip Ball opens that window to offer an epic and powerful new way of thinking about Chinese civilization.

Water, Ball shows, is a key that unlocks much of Chinese culture. In The Water Kingdom, he takes us on a grand journey through China's past and present, showing how the complexity and energy of the country and its history repeatedly come back to the challenges, opportunities, and inspiration provided by the waterways.

Drawing on stories from travelers and explorers, poets and painters, bureaucrats and activists, all of whom have been influenced by an environment shaped and permeated by water, Ball explores how the ubiquitous relationship of the Chinese people to water has made it an enduring metaphor for philosophical thought and artistic expression.

©2016 Philip Ball (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"This is a one-stop examination of water's primacy in Chinese history, and a well-written one at that." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    12
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator is great. Content is a bit lacking.

I like the narrator. Very clear and fluid delivery. Good pronunciation of the Chinese words.

The book itself is a bit lacking. Sounds more like a collection of loosely connected information, instead of a book that explores the secret history of China. And since it’s in Audible format, I got lost several times as to which chapter I was on. They all sounded the same after the first hour.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Real History with great narrative

What made the experience of listening to The Water Kingdom the most enjoyable?

Worthwhile read about the history of China. Very well thought out connections between the geography and landscape of the country and how this has influenced it as a nation over the centuries. The narrative is easy to follow and moves along at a fast pace without compromising accuracy. Highly recommend even if you’re casually interested in history; but especially recommend if you’re a student/enthusiast of history.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-27-19

Better off with the paper copy

A pretty interesting take on Chinese History let down by some very poor pronunciations. The idea behind the book is pretty unique, though I did wonder whether the relationship that China shares with water is really all that different from other civilizations. I liked the broad sweep of the book but feel like it might be frustrating without a better idea of the general story of Chinese history. However some of the pronunciation of Chinese names is just pretty awful, sometimes to the point of being unintelligible.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Luca Nicotra
  • Luca Nicotra
  • 06-14-18

Excellent overview of China's history

On the importance of water ways in the history of China, both practically and symbolically.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Avi Chapman
  • Avi Chapman
  • 11-05-18

Great Thesis. Terrible Pronunciation

The central theme of this book is very interestingly explored and led me to view Chinese history and culture in a whole new light.

That said, the frequent butchering of the Chinese words kept pulling me out of the narrative. Sometimes I could understand what he was trying to say, but other times I had no idea what word he was trying to convey. It was very frustrating for me. His narration of the rest of the book was delightful - I just wish he had internalized the bit in the prologue that explained how to pronounce pinyin.