Clerks and Craftsmen in China and the West

Lester S. King, MD
JAMA. 1970;213(7):1197-1198. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170330077028.
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Joseph Needham, in addition to his other accomplishments, is the outstanding western scholar in the history of science and technology of China. In this field he has published a mammoth multi-volume text that is the definitive work in its field. While he was devoting most of his time to this major project, he had delivered many lectures and occasional papers on the subjects of Chinese science, technology, and medical history. The present volume collects 19 of these studies, delivered or published between 1949 and 1966. Five of them deal specifically with medical-historical topics. While one or two of the individual papers are highly technical, and of interest chiefly to sinologists, the overwhelming majority are for the general educated reader who wants to learn something about the culture of China in its technical and its mechanical aspects, as well as its medical facets.

The Western world, which has made such rapid


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