The mighty Yangtze River - the third-longest river in the world - is the birthplace of Chinese civilization. This intriguing book takes readers along this ancient transportation route, strategic natural boundary, and lifeblood of an agricultural society. The river flows eastward from the Tibetan Plateau, crossing thousands of miles before emptying into the East China Sea. Today, the river basin is home to about one-third of China's population. The near completion of the Three Gorges Dam has displaced more than a million people and changed the river's ecosystem dramatically. Built to control flooding, make the river more navigable, and supply energy, some fear it will harm the region's environment.