The River at the Center of the World
A Journey Up the Yangtze, and Back in Chinese Time
By Simon Winchester
Picador USA, Paperback, 9780312423377, 414pp.
Publication Date: April 2004
List Price: $18.00*
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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. This is travel writing at its best: lively, informative, and thoroughly enchanting.
"Winchester is a storyteller...romantic enough to make us yearn to be there with him." --The Washington Post
"Winchester is an exceptionally engaging guide...at home everywhere, ready for anything, full of gusto, and seemingly omnivorous curiosity." --The New York Times Book Review
"Another home run." --Los Angeles Times
"At one time or another, many of us, I suspect, have wanted to be Simon Winchester, to lead a life that was equal parts Jan Morris and James Bond." --San Francisco Chronicle
"Winchester is an exquisite writer and a deft anecdoteur." --Christopher Buckley