The River at the Center of the World: A Journey Up the Yangtze, and Back in Chinese Time

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Macmillan, 2004 - Travel - 432 pages
8 Reviews
Rising in the mountains of the Tibetan border, the Yangtze River, the symbolic heart of China pierces 3,900 miles of rugged country before debouching into the oily swells of the East China Sea. Connecting China's heartland cities with the volatile coastal giant, Shanghai, it has also historically connected China to the outside world through its nearly one thousand miles of navigable waters. To travel those waters is to travel back in history, to sense the soul of China, and Simon Winchester takes us along with him as he encounters the essence of China--its history and politics, its geography and climate as well as engage in its culture, and its people in remote and almost inaccessible places. The River at the Center of the World: A Journey Up the Yangtze, and Back in Chinese Time is travel writing at its best: lively, informative, and thoroughly enchanting.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JBD1 - LibraryThing

Simon Winchester travels up the Yangtze and uses his trek to write about Chinese history and its various Yangtze-based focal points. A bit uneven (rather like the river, perhaps?), but overall I was ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BooksForDinner - LibraryThing

This is the fourth Winchester book I've read (the two OED books and the other China book being the first three). It's also the earliest, and while I enjoyed this book, I liked his later ones a little better. He seems rather fair in his assessments of China and its people, but how would I know?!? Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

The Plan
7
The Mouth Open Wide
33
The City Without a Past
60
The First Reach
89
City of Victims
113
Rising Waters
141
Crushed Torn and Curled
160
Swimming
186
The Foothills
270
The Garden Country of Joseph Rock
291
The River Wild
331
Harder Than the Road to Heaven
356
Headwaters
387
The Yangtze
395
Suggestions for Further Reading
399
Index
405

A New Great Wall
212
The Shipmasters Guide
253

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About the author (2004)

Simon Winchester is the author of The Professor and the Madman, The Map That Changed the World, and Krakatoa, among many other titles. He lives in Massachusetts, New York City, and the Western Isles of Scotland.

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