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This third volume of Colin Ronan’s abridgement of Joseph Needham’s monumental work is devoted to Chinese contributions to nautical science and technology. In the original text, these subjects were dealt with in separate parts; in this abridgement they are coveniently presented in a single unified account. The book opens with an examination of what is perhaps the greatest single contribution of Chinese civilisation to nautical science, the magnetic compass. Then follow chapters on navigation, nautical history, and voyages and discoveries, together with design and methods of construction of Chinese shipping. A final chapter looks at nautical technology in war and peace. In the original text, the material covered here appeared in Volume IV Part I and Volume IV Part 3. In abridging the text, the opportunity has been taken to include the official Pin Yin transliterations alongside those of the original work.
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