200-page illustrated introduction to China’s Grand Canal: Mirror of Civilisation, by historian Li Denan and canal expert David Edwards-May, published by Xanadu Ltd, a subsidiary of the Fine Arts Press, itself part of the Phoenix Publishing and Media Group in Nanjing. The book is a semi-hard cover publication, abundantly illustrated with photographs, historical documents and maps by David Edwards-May, mostly based on material assembled for the UNESCO submission document. This is a readable introduction to a vast and complex subject, which at times defies the imagination. The reality of the canal today is also full of contrasts revealed by this work, between the archeological work required in the north to reveal even traces of the canal’s past glory, and the major transport artery south of the Yellow River. Although this is not a guide book, Chinese canal expert Edith Bronder declares ‘I wish I had this book with me when I toured Grand Canal cities and sites in 2015’.
The book is one of a series of 15 titles of the Special Pocket Edition of Symbols of Jiangsu Province. The map drawn by David Edwards-May of the Grand Canal in Jiangsu identified the other 14 subjects.