A look China's recent cultural reinterpretation of the oldest canal in the world, dug when Confucius was alive, along which has traveled not only cargo but ideas, customs, and dialects The face of modern China is changing. Liam D'Arcy-Brown travels the length of the Grand Canal, a symbol of national identity, Chinese pride, and cultural achievement. For those with an interest in China and its culture, people, or heritage, this book provides an exciting, fascinating, and well-written account of the navigation of the lifeblood of a rising powerâ€”the Grand Canal of China. At more than 1,100 miles long, and dating back to the 5th century BC, the Grand Canal of China is the world's longest artificial waterway and its oldest working canal. Though a source of great national pride to the Chinese, one of China's most economically important transport routes, and the possible savior of a rapidly desiccating Beijing, it has never been investigated by foreign writers and travelers. The first non-Chinese to have made this journey since the 1780s, Liam D'Arcy-Brown traveled from Hangzhou to Beijing along the Grand Canal by barges, boats, and road and here tells his tales.