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Mr Selden's Map of China: The spice trade, a lost chart & the South China Sea Hardcover – 27 Feb 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (27 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781250383
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781250389
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.7 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 276,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for Vermeer's Hat -

'Spell-binding ... as a guide to the world behind the pictures Vermeer's Hat is mind-expanding

(Sunday Times)

A brilliant attempt to make us understand the reach and breadth of the first global age (Guardian)

Brook takes you into the paintings in a way that can be spookily intimate (Evening Standard)

[the map] has inspired a book filled with historical detective work that is one of the best I have read for years... [Brook] embarks on an extraordinary series of physical, historical and linguistic journeys... Brook has an enviable gift for picking his way through a vast amount of arcane historical and scientific material to produce a fast-moving, conversational narrative, which flies by before you realise you have just been guided through some of the more esoteric aspects of Chinese science or folklore. It is punctuated by telling personal anecdotes and trenchant observations on how the past continues to shape the present - especially when dealing with China... This book shows that we all need Timothy Brook to keep switching on the lights. (Jerry Brotton Literary Review 2014-02-13)

Mr Selden's Map of China is a picaresque journey, laced with asides, yet each digression contains a jewel of insight... Alternating between early modern and modern history, England and China, biography, science and culture, Brook holds us spellbound, just as he did in his earlier compelling series of interwoven tales of China and the west, Vermeer's Hat (2008).. Brook has brought an entire, largely unknown, set of cross-cultural exchanges vividly to life. (Lisa Jardine Financial Times 2014-02-15)

The quest is fascinating and picaresque, a sort of cartographical Tristram Shandy with a sure-handed narrator steering us from Ming dynasty China to pre-Civil War Oxford to the Spice Islands of South-East Asia. (Rana Mitter Sunday Telegraph 2014-02-23)

The great charm of this book lies not only in its illustrative, erudite detail but in the serendipity that regularly seizes Brook and adds spice to a spellbinding story. (Iain Finlayson The Times 2014-03-01)

A fascinating look at the story behind the map. (Sally Newall The Independent 2014-02-28)

The book is an enjoyable read and, in an age where China is flexing its muscles and where the South China Sea is a growing source of contention, there is no better time to look closely at a long-forgotten map of the region that highlights, through its unique history and features, the early interchange between foreign lands, cultures and individuals. (South China Morning Post 2014-03-09)

The book is an enjoyable read and, in an age where China is flexing its muscles and where the South China Sea is a growing source of contention, there is no better time to look closely at a long-forgotten map of the region that highlights, through its unique history and features, the early interchange between foreign lands, cultures and individuals. (South China Morning Post 2014-03-11)

Book Description

Forensic history at its best: an ancient map reveals the origins of world trade, and surprising twists in China's history.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Currie on 27 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Awful, awful kindle edition, in which it is impossible to find the illustrations. Given that this is a book about a map, being unable to look at a picture of the map renders it almost useless. Buy the paper edition or don't bother!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hal B Sisk on 19 July 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From Timothy Brook's earlier book "Vermeer's Hat" I was aware that he is a historian who can write superbly and segue smoothly between events geographically and culturally oceans apart. An academic who communicates brilliantly, he encourages me to look up his other books. His linking of the text with the images is particularly well done, as his his pen sketches of the key players.
I also greatly enjoyed his forthright and polite debunking of other academics who attributed a ridiculous speed potential of 12 to 20 knots for the Chinese trading junks. As a maritime historian,and a keen sailor, I have been shocked by the stubborn attachment of academic archaeologists to exaggerated performance characteristics of ancient craft.
I unreservedly recommend this book.
Fair Winds and keep up the good work, Timothy.
Hal Sisk
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By Oribeth on 6 Oct. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought it as a present and the recipient really loved it
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