Yangtze: Nature, History, and the River (Portable Stanford)

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9780201088946: Yangtze: Nature, History, and the River (Portable Stanford)
From Publishers Weekly:

As the central artery of a far-flung economic region, the Yangtze River carries four-fifths of China's waterborne traffic along its 3900-mile length. The river sustains 70% of the country's grain output, and some 300 million people live along its banks. But the "Long River," as the Chinese call it, is more than an overwhelming geographical fact: it is a collective memory that threads its way through China's consciousness. Shuttling back and forth over centuries, Van Slyke, professor of history at Stanford, ties the Yangtze to the history of canal-building, the rise of Shanghai from fishing port to commercial magnet, opium traffic, political infighting, the little-known saga of the tung-oil trade (which rivals the romance of silk and tea), sail designs of junks, and much else. The book is an admirable attempt to pierce the paradox of a people steeped in sense of place, yet ever on the move. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

A leisurely tour of every subject remotely connected with China's greatest river. The Yangtze runs from the highlands of Tibet through the gorges of Sichuan to the sea near Shanghai, its watershed home to a third of China's population. Around this focus Van Slyke discusses the history of Chinese ecology, engineering, boat-building, trade, agriculture, social structure, poetry, art, and other subjects as effortlessly as if he were a companion passenger on one of the slow boats that plied the river in earlier days. His urbane curiosity and enthusiam make the book deftly engaging. Somehow, by the end of it, the fellow-traveling reader has picked up nearly the equivalent of a course in Chinese history. Andrew J. Nathan, Columbia Univ.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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