Beginning with Marco Polo's enigmatic writings in the 1270s, Jonathan Spence's masterly account explores how missionaries, travellers, poets, writers, diplomats and other outsiders have viewed China over seven centuries, and through their observations have spoken with unintentional eloquence of their own culture's preoccupations, hopes and fears.
'Remarkable erudition worn with a shimmering lightness... an excellent book.'
T. H. Barrett, Independent
'Entertaining and thoughtful... displays the sinological magic which is his trademark.'
Jonathan Mirsky, Spectator