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Short Synopsis
In The Water Kingdom, renowned writer Philip Ball offers an epic and powerful new way of thinking about Chinese civilization.

Full Synopsis
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.

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

“A rewarding read. . . . At its most fascinating when describing how in China the laws of nature seem to have embedded in them a moral precept. . . . Ball puts water beautifully back at the heart of China’s story.” ---Economist

“In his excellent, smartly written new book, The Water Kingdom, Ball identifies water as ‘one of the most constant, significant and illuminating themes’ in China’s history and culture. . . . Along the way, the book punctures myths and draws illuminating connections.” ---Financial Times

“Ball’s journey along the history, politics, and culture of China’s waterways encompasses many heroes of Chinese hydrology, men who grappled with elemental forces and imperial censure and sometimes came out on top. . . . Ball argues that China’s future, like the past, can be read in the fate of its water.” ---Guardian

"[Derek Perkins's] voice is clear and easy on the ears, and his pace makes the material flow well. His facility with Mandarin makes names and places no problem to identify and follow." ---AudioFile
Publishers Weekly Review

The Water Kingdom

A Secret History of China

Author Philip Ball

Narrated by Derek Perkins

Publication date Apr 25, 2017

Running time 13 hrs

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