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China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power Paperback – June 3, 2008
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“How I envy Rob Gifford and his journey along China Road. How grateful I am to him for allowing me to share the trip through his vivid writing and his deep knowledge of and great love for China. As vicarious enjoyment goes, this one’s a ten.”
–Ted Koppel, managing editor, Discovery Channel
“Rob Gifford has found the perfect road trip. His years in China have given him a keen eye and a deep understanding of the country’s contradictions; he’s the perfect guide to this magnificent road from Shanghai to the Kazakhstan border.”
–Peter Hassler, author of River Town and Oracle Bones
“My gosh, I loved Rob Gifford’s book. His journey along Route 312 is a great road story–from Hooters in Shanghai to the Iron House of Confucianism. China Road is insightful, funny, analytical, anecdotal, full of humble humor and magnificent discoveries.”
–Scott Simon, host of NPR’s Weekend Edition and author of Pretty Birds
“Here is China end to end, told from its equivalent of Route 66 as Gifford journeys from Shanghai to the distant west, talking to truck drivers, merchants, hermits, and whores. Gifford portrays China with affection and humor, in all its complexity, energy, hopefulness, and risk.”
–Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, Columbia University
“Equal parts Bill Bryson and Jonathan Spence. Gifford is great company and great fun, and China Road is a terrific, highly readable book.”
–Jim Yardley, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times Beijing correspondent
“A great book, a terrific read. Rob Gifford’s story is as engaging as any travel writing, but it is equally full of historical and philosophical wisdom about the future of the world’s largest country.”
–Joseph S. Nye, Jr., former assistant secretary of defense, Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard University
“After six years in Beijing, NPR’s Rob Gifford has written a wonderfully reflective but also well-informed account of his road trip across China. His knowledge and insight about China’s past and present do a marvelous job in helping the reader understand all the challenges that confront this very dynamic country’s future.”
–Orville Schell, director, the Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
In "China Road: A Journey Into the Future of a Rising Power" (344 pages), Gifford, who has had a lifelong fascination with China and speaks Mandarin fluently, takes us on a journey across China on Road 312, the Chinese equivalent of our Route 66. Starting in Shanghai and working his way west, Gifford meets ordinary and not-so-ordinary Chinese and simply lets them do the talking. It makes for compelling reading. Talking to a well-known radio talk-show host in Shanghai, the host remarks that "morality--a sense of what's right and wrong--doesn't matter anymore".
At some point in his journey Gifford runs into a man holding a big sign that reads ANTICORRUPTION JOURNEY ACROSS CHINA. The man tells Gifford that "You see, in the West, people have a moral standard that is inside them. It is built into them. Chinese people do not have that moral standard within them. If there is nothing external stopping them, they just do whatever they want for themselves, regardless of right and wrong".
When Gifford runs into an Indian national, he hopes to have a discussion about how things are evolving in India versus in China, but the man is not interested in having the discussion.Read more ›
The writing here is attractive, and often very entertaining, but the picture that Gifford reports isn't always a pretty one. With the world's biggest economy ballooning as it is, there's still a burgeoning, clambering desperation among the poor to get onto the ladder before the opportunities elude them. In some of the poorer, more remote areas, this fact - one can readily see, is already causing sad social consequences. There's a tone of fascinating regret here: a question about whether the price of progress is always worth it. Well recommended.
He highlights the severe problem of pollution in Chinese cities. He mentions the ubiquitous sex-trade that employs 10-20 million women. He mentions the severe shortage of marriage-age women in many areas. He mentions the problem of official corruption. And he highlights the severe political repression and colonization of Muslim Uighurs and Buddhist Tibetans by the Han Chinese.
He mentions his talk with a "family planning" doctor and learns that it is her job to go around in the villages and enforce the one-child policy. This means persuading pregnant women who already have a child to undergo abortion. Sometimes she has to abort 8-month old fetuses, sometimes kill them with lethal injection, and, if a baby still manages to be born alive, to kill it after birth.
He contrasts Hui Muslims in Gansu province with Uighur Muslims of Xinjiang. The Hui Muslims are loyal Chinese citizens, who don't like American and British policy and wars in the Muslim countries, and admire Osama bin Laden.Read more ›
The premise and structure of the book are appealing. The author, Rob Gifford, an American journalist, hitchhikes across China on Route 312, China's equivalent of the US's Route 66, and writes about the places he visits and the people he meets. Along the way, he muses about China's history, its current building boom, its social structures and traditions, its problems related to its emergence as a global economy and its likely future as a world power. This makes for fascinating reading and, certainly for me, an entertaining way of getting to know a nation and a people who are increasingly affecting the lives of everyone on Earth.
As soon as I heard about the collapse of school buildings in the poorer provinces of China during last month's earthquake, I realized that many parents would have just lost their only child due to China's one-child policy. This, it seemed to me, would be one of the things more likely to create the kind of anger and dissatisfaction that the government will be unable to buy off by putting more consumer goods into the hands of China's growing middle-class. Sure enough. The news continues to be full of stories about the anger and resentment felt by many lower middle class parents whose children died in poorly constructed schools while the children of the wealthy survived because they attended well-built schools that did not fall during the quake.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I recently traveled to China and found this book to be insightful and still very accurate. It provides unique and profound insight into the real China.Published 25 days ago by vistars
The book was in excellent condition and you said it was very good, so I was very pleased. It also arrived more quickly than I expected.Published 26 days ago by Frederick T. Heller
Although I learned a lot from this book, it was long enough. I didn't need the tacked on author's predictions of the future of China, or at least not so many pages of it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Beautifully written combination of travelogue with comparative history/ religion / philosophy/ political science. Read morePublished 3 months ago by llb
Fantastic book, a very down-to-earth look at the real China by an excellent author.Published 3 months ago by Tomgadgets
I savored this book, like you would savor a fine glass on wine. I feel like I've been to the Northern part of China, without the exhausting travel. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Donna Mac
As a Chinese lives in the US, the book shows me a different perspective of the country I grow up. My home town is along the China road. Read morePublished 8 months ago by UTKYH