Reviews: THE WATER KINGDOM: A Secret History of China

Book Cover of Water Kingdom

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

“An epic portrait of China’s water management history and its deep interlacing with culture currents. It’s essential reading for any serious understanding of the dynamic relations between humans and nature, not only in China but in the world at large.” Xiaolu Guo, author of I Am China

“The language of water has been spoken in China since the earliest times. This remarkable book explains why, and is one of the very few that will be respected both in the West and in China.” Xinran, author of The Good Women of China and Buy Me The Sky

“What a splendid idea:to write a history of China through its relationship with water. Far-fetched you might think: not in the least, as you will find immediately you start to read this fascinating book… You will never think of China in quite the same way again.” Martin Jacques, author of When China Rules The World

University of Chicago Press (2017) Hardcover ISBN 0-226-36920-X

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