If you thought China's history of invention was all compass, bomb and book then be prepared to be amazed. And amazed.
I thought this would be a slim volume but it's quite big, well designed with lots and lots of illustrations. I wondered if some of the "inventions" or "discoveries" were a bit tenuous - okay the Chinese were open to the idea of mountains becoming sea floors and sea floors becoming mountains but that idea permeates many cultures. To suggest they "discovered" coastal erosion centuries before the west is maybe a stretch too far! However, the obvious sinophilia aside, this is a fascinating book.
If you're just interested in China, or technology, or science, or whatever, it's one that will reward you time and again. It's not a book to read cover to cover, but either to dip into or look for specific things. The explanation of ceramics, for example, is particularly interesting and apart from anything else, taught me a lot about a subject I have a passing interest in, but no expertise. Now I am full of admiration for those who practise it, and for the Chinese who somehow discovered techniques that took the west a long, long time to unlock.
A very good book indeed, and a good price.