This is the story of how the book you are holding came to be. It is the history of how a simple Chinese invention has wrapped itself around our world for over two millennia, along the Silk Road, through the Renaissance, the Reformation and beyond, enabling history's most momentous ideas to flourish.
Alexander Monro studied Chinese at the University of Cambridge and in Beijing before working for The Times in London and for Reuters in Shanghai. He has contributed chapters to The Dragon Throne (a history of China's dynasties) and The Seventy Great Journeys in History, and edited two travel poetry anthologies, including China- City and Exile. In 2011, he won the Royal Society of Literature's Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction for The Paper Trail, his first book. He lives with his wife in the Cotswolds, and writes on contemporary China.