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

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Staff Reviews

Simon Winchester's journey from the mouth of the Yangtze to its headwaters in the foothills of Tibet is a trip across China and through time. He evokes a panorama of history, everything from the Rape of Nanking to Mao's legendary swim across the river at Wuhan. He also beautifully describes the course of this amazing river, one of the world's longest and most important. Winchester's prose is eminently informative and lyrical; all in all, this is an extremely satisfying read. ~ Ann

— From Ann


A stunning tour of China, its people, and its history. Chosen as one of the best travel books of 1996 by the New York Times Book Review.

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 is travel writing at its best: lively, informative, and thoroughly enchanting.

About the Author

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.

Praise For…

“Winchester is a storyteller...romantic enough to make us yearn to be there with him.” —The Washington Post

“Winchester is an exceptionally engaging 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

Product Details
ISBN: 9780312423377
ISBN-10: 0312423373
Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: April 1st, 2004
Pages: 432
Language: English