From the best-selling author of Oracle Bones and River Town comes the final book in his award-winning trilogy, on the human side of the economic revolution in China.
In the summer of 2001, Peter Hessler, the longtime Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, acquired his Chinese driver's license. For the next seven years, he traveled the country, tracking how the automobile and improved roads were transforming China. Hessler writes movingly of the average people - farmers, migrant workers, entrepreneurs - who have reshaped the nation during one of the most critical periods in its modern history.
Country Driving begins with Hessler's 7,000-mile trip across northern China, following the Great Wall, from the East China Sea to the Tibetan plateau. He investigates a historically important rural region being abandoned, as young people migrate to jobs in the southeast.
Next, Hessler spends six years in Sancha, a small farming village in the mountains north of Beijing, which changes dramatically after the local road is paved and the capital's auto boom brings new tourism.
Finally, he turns his attention to urban China, researching development over a period of more than two years in Lishui, a small southeastern city where officials hope that a new government-built expressway will transform a farm region into a major industrial center.
Peter Hessler, whom The Wall Street Journal calls "one of the Western world's most thoughtful writers on modern China", deftly illuminates the vast, shifting landscape of a traditionally rural nation that, having once built walls against foreigners, is now building roads and factory towns that look to the outside world.
©2010 Peter Hessler (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"The best yet from Peter Hessler, whose two earlier books, River Town and Oracle Bones, were exemplary forays into the genre. . . . Told with his characteristic blend of empathy, insight, and self-deprecating humor." (Time)
"[A]n 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." (Amazon.com review)
"Best overview of life in modern China"
An essential read/listen for anyone who wants to understand modern China, how and why things are the way they are in the new millennium. Hessler has a great ability to explain cultural differences between East and West. Anyone who has lived in China recently can relate to Hessler's automobile anecdotes and understand how rapidly the country is changing. Shame that P Berkrot, the reader, did not get good tips on Chinese pronunciation!
"Over-long but with many highlights"
I have to confess that I've yet to make it to the end of this audiobook.
The first part is the only section that really focuses on driving and to be honest, it's not that interesting. Anecdotes about the Chinese driving test and the people he hires his cars from are hilarious and kept me listening, but there's a whole lot of nothing outside Beijing and that's where he went.
Part two deals with the relationships that the author forms while living in a village outside Beijing and for me this is the most interesting part of the book. It is a time of great change for the locals as the new roads bring visitors and money to the area encouraging growth and development. The insight that the author brings to this process is unique.
Then part three moves on to examine how business is established in new development zones and I didn't think that this was particularly interesting. I got lost with the endless strings of names and there were fewer characters and stories to be told. This is where my interest faded, maybe 3/4 into the whole book.
There's much to enjoy here, and I certainly wouldn't have got as far as I did had I been reading the book. To my totally untrained ear, the narrator (American) seems to have a good grasp of Chinese pronunciation and this helps tremendously. I just felt that the book was a little overlong and journalistic where I was expecting a more personal tale.
"Ture China!--- in view of a ture Chinese"
As a Beijingness living in UK for past 10 years, this book bring me back home. the book is fun to listen and tell you a true China without prejudice. with years experence living in China, he is indeed have deeper and better understanding of China’s progress over the past decade. his book not only covered culture but also the economic, political, and social systems. the best book so far about telling you a ture China and how Chinese life changed for past 10 years.
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