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

About the Author

Timothy Brook was Shaw Professor of Chinese at Oxford when he first saw the Selden Map, and is now professor of history at the University of British Columbia. The author of eight books on Chinese history, his most widely read book is Vermeer's Hat [9781846681127].

Reviews

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 *
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 *
A fascinating look at the story behind the map. -- Sally Newall * The Independent *
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 *
[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 *
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 *
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 *

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