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Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2010: There is, as everyone knows, no place in the world changing as fast, and at such scale, as China. Accounts of the upheaval can be breathless and even alarming, but Peter Hessler is the calmest and most companionable of correspondents. In his reporting for the New Yorker and in his books River Town, Oracle Bones, and now the superb Country Driving, he's observed the past 15 years of change with the patience and perspective--and necessary good humor--of an outsider who expects to be there for a while. In Country Driving, Hessler takes to the roads, as so many Chinese are doing now for the first time, driving on dirt tracks to the desert edges of the ancient empire and on brand-new highways to the mushrooming factory towns of the globalized boom. He's modest but intrepid--having taken to heart the national philosophy that it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission--and an utterly enjoyable guide, with a humane and empathetic eye for the ambitions, the failures, and the comedy of a country in which everybody, it seems, is on the move, and no one is quite sure of the rules. --Tom Nissley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Starred Review. In his latest feat of penetrating social reportage, New Yorker writer Hessler (Oracle Bones) again proves himself America's keenest observer of the New China. Hessler investigates the country's lurch into modernity through three engrossing narratives. In an epic road trip following the Great Wall across northern China, he surveys dilapidated frontier outposts from the imperial past while barely surviving the advent of the nation's uniquely terrifying car culture. He probes the transformation of village life through the saga of a family of peasants trying to remake themselves as middle-class entrepreneurs. Finally, he explores China's frantic industrialization, embodied by the managers and workers at a fly-by-night bra-parts factory in a Special Economic Zone. Hessler has a sharp eye for contradictions, from the absurdities of Chinese drivers' education courses—low-speed obstacle courses are mandatory, while seat belts and turn signals are deemed optional—to the leveling of an entire mountain to make way for the Renli Environmental Protection Company. Better yet, he has a knack for finding the human-scale stories that make China's vast upheavals both comprehensible and moving. The result is a fascinating portrait of a society tearing off into the future with only the sketchiest of maps. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I will be touring China next month and wanted to be better informed about the transformation I knew was happening there -- transformations in culture, economy, urbanization. Read morePublished 24 days ago by ebuyerri
As two individuals who are currently in China, and who have been here twenty times for three to five months at a clip, my wife and I are very familiar with the country, its... Read morePublished 27 days ago by Dr. Glenn W. Briggs
As a Chinese American who moved to Amercia at a young age and has not been immersed in Chinese culture for most of his life, the one complaint I had about this book was that it was... Read morePublished 28 days ago by Rich
The book arrived in good condition. The narrative provides some surprising insights into the realities of life in modern China.Published 1 month ago by C. Vernon
Having spent a lot of time as a businessman in China over the last 20 years I found his observations both dead on target and the book brought to mind many of my own similar... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Linda B.
This is a very interesting book in 3 parts. One is driving the roads along and near the "Great Wall". Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ellen L Benjamin
I am planning my 1st trip to China and found this book to be informative and entertaining. Possibly it needed a little more editing. Read morePublished 1 month ago by S. Martin