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Yangtze Remembered: The River Beneath the Lake Hardcover – Oct 12 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford General Books; 1 edition (Oct. 12 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804747547
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804747547
  • Product Dimensions: 29.5 x 2 x 33 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,452,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"...Butler is a consummate artisan and the prints are marvels of tonal graduation and detail."—San Jose Mercury News

"Those who view these images... will be by turns amazed and dejected: no one who loves China and her people will ever forget these carefully made photographs, nor the moment in history that they so eloquently record, nor the poignancy that they so quietly reveal."—Simon Winchester

"[Butler] has found an exemplary balance between sweeping vistas and formal portraits, between the interiors of humble dwellings and the grandeur of the dam...itself."—Photo Eye

"Simply put, Linda's is a never-can-be-duplicated record of the making of the Three Gorges Dam and the subsequent human-made lake that forever has altered...the great and turbulent Yangtze River."—Frank van Riper

"The care that has gone into the creation of this volume is nothing short of extraordinary: the 101 black and white plates are so sharp they seem to abolish the distance between subject and viewer. Yangtze Remembered is both a powerful human testament and a landmark of documentary photography."—Common Reader
"In Butler's most recent project... she has photographed the 360-mile stretch of the Yangtze River... that is destined to be flooded behind the controversial Three Gorges Dam... A wintry sadness hangs over the landscape and technology that ought to concern anyone who cares about the earth."—Steven Litt, Cleveland's Plain Dealer
"Yangtze Remebered: The River Beneath the Lake is no less than a gift to mankind. Butler's powerful images preserve an ancient tale."—Center for Photographic Art Newsletter
"Butler's dozens of formally composed images, many printed at full-page size, are a fine-arts photographer's tribute to a great river (and a river culture) undergoing convulsive change."—-The San Francisco Chronicle
“ . . . This is highly recommended for large collections, especially those with readers interested in environmental issues.”—Library Journal

From the Inside Flap

In June 2003, the Three Gorges Dam opened and a reservoir the size of lake Superior began to form, inundating 372 miles of China’s Yangtze River Valley. As 1,500 cities, towns and villages disappeared beneath the dark waters, more than a million people were being moved. Around the reservoir, huge construction projects are still transforming the landscape; mighty dikes, long bridges, apartment towers, and sprawling cities are springing up.
Between 2000 and 2003 Linda Butler made eight trips to the Yangtze to photograph the people, the human environment, and the natural landscape before, during, and after these changes. She spent long weeks in the busy cities and remote villages. Lyrical photographs of dramatic vistas are paired with images showing the ravages visited on this region by coal mining and erosion. Intimate shots of interiors reveal the contents of homes and stores, a table set for an impromptu meal, or a shop counter scattered with seed packets and posters of Mao. Informal portraits of local inhabitants preserve a record of the people as they carry pigs to market, load all their household furnishings onto a boat, or play badminton on a village street.
Accompanying the images is the photographer’s travel commentary, which reads like a dynamic series of short stories. Butler’s words reveal the invisible stories of the common people as they struggle to come to terms with the destruction of their homes and lives. Since ancient times, the Yangtze River itself has been like an unpredictable neighbor—sometimes generous, but at other times wreaking havoc on the lives of others. Perhaps because the river people have lived near such volatility they have developed a profound resilience in the face of adversity.
Yangtze Remembered is both a measured and a passionate book. The powerful images reveal much that we have never seen before and cannot ever see again.

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By Aileen Marshall on Nov. 14 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kind of Drab book and not pretty photos !
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This is a "must have" April 8 2005
By Mark D. Segal - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As a person with a long-standing involvement in both photography and the professional evaluation of major energy projects in many countries (including hydro) I really appreciated the true value of this wonderful book.

To begin with, many not involved in this kind of work may not appreciate how politically sensitive it is. It took a great deal of courage and savvy for Ms. Butler to create the relationships and the entrees needed to make and exit the country with all those wonderful photographs and interview materials. This is no small feat in its own right. It speaks highly of her and also says alot about the growing openness of China.

Turning to the content, the quality of the photographs - in purely photographic terms - is superb. Lest we forget the power of black and white and the time-tested virtues of powerful composition, lighting and choice of subject matter, this is the place to recall them. Most of these pictures are not merely records - they are good photographs.

The captions and the text are very well done. This book is not a one-sided tirade against dam development. Rather, it is a sensitive, obviously well-informed and balanced perspective on the costs and benefits of these undertakings - both at an individual and more aggregate societal level. It is very clear from this book that there are winners and losers, progress and losses, and the actual long-term net result remains to play-out. This is reality.

There are important lessons of experience to be learned from this text. Let us not forget the scale of this enterprise. China committed something like six billions dollars to resettlement alone for over one million affected people. That a certain percentage of this money got misdirected through corruption and poor implementation is not surprising, and to the Chinese themselves - not acceptable - people are going to jail for their misdeeds. Ms. Butler faces these issues head-on and in a balanced manner. It becomes clear from reading this text that no matter how well-designed a project may be, the quality of the implementation arrangements and the structures in place for assuring their proper functioning are truly critical.

Finally, returning to the book as a production in its own right, the quality of the layout and printing are superb. Very highly recommended.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Breathtaking photography & the humanity of Three Gorges Dam Dec 7 2004
By Shaloop - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This amazing book by Linda Butler is a beautiful and heartbreaking look at the Three Gorges Dam project in China and the changing landscape because of it. The images are incredible and the text is haunting. The photographs are wonderfully reproduced and she has a great eye for capturing the subtle silence and the small nuances of the people and the landscape. Her vivid images document a changing China in a very intimate way. This text is a true photographic and historical treat!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The highest printing production values Dec 2 2013
By yelnats - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book reproduces Linda Butler's wonderful black & white photographs using a very special post-production/printing process called stochastic screening as opposed to the usual half-tone method. It is as though one is looking at exhibition quality prints hanging in a photo gallery. It was for the production values used in Yangtze Remembered that made me want to own this volume. I had first seen the book in the lobby of Stanford University Press a number of years ago, but I couldn't justify the $75 price tag. When I saw that it was available used for $25. at Amazon I didn't hesitate. To my eye the only evidence of it being used was the scratched dust jacket.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
China is Rising May 31 2006
By T. Maves - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Subtle, beautiful, honest glimpse of the most massive public energy project ever undertaken. Linda Butler captures the life and death of the people, commnunities, and cities that were sacrificed for this energy project.

If America is "addicted to oil" then China is addicted to electricity. In the past 3 years China has approved and is building more new coal fired power plants than the entire United States fleet. You would think that this massive hydroelectric project at Three Gorges Dam would appease China's hunger for new energy, but the reality is it's just a drop in the bucket.

This book does a wonderful job reflecting on what we loose when society progresses.
I love this book Oct. 19 2015
By marcas - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book. I was lucky enough to cruise the Yangtze before the dam was completed and saw many of these area that are shown in the book. It breaks my heart to know that so many fantastic places no longer exist. This book helps keep my memories alive. I sometimes think I would love to take this cruise again to see what these areas look like now.