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"Labelling Ball a science writer sells his writing short, for its value lies above all in a range that dissolves the awkward silences between science and the larger culture of which it is part." Marek Kohn - The Independent

A History Book of the Year in The Times


A History Book of the Year in The Economist


“Philip Ball argues in this extraordinary book, water is key to understanding China. After reading The Water Kingdom, I’m inclined to agree.”

Gerard DeGroot, The Times


The Water Kingdom traverses fascinating, endlessly fertile territory… It should make us rethink our own relationship with water.”

Christopher Harding, Daily Telegraph


“A convincing introduction to Chinese history. Rather than perpetuating stereotypes, it boldly navigates treacherous and often-avoided terrain… It has taken a generalist to turn the rich but rather dry literature on the history of water in China into an accessible history.”

Andrea Janku, Nature


“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.”

Isabel Hilton, Observer


“Excellent, smartly written”

Jonathan Fenby, Financial Times


“Lucid and impressive”

Rana Mitter, Prospect

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