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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Peter Hessler has Done it Again!!
I've lived in Shanghai almost as long as Peter has been traveling around China and I've read just about all the books on today's China over the past decade. These generally fall in to two categories. The first are the ones who have China all figured out and will "unlock" all it's secrets for you (which is enjoyable). But the other is by the individual who fully immerses themselves in this ancient culture, learns the language and falls in love while admitting they have figured out very little. Peter gently weaves his way in to the fiber of the places he visits and serves up a pleasing, enlightening narrative with light humor and anecdotes on his road-trip deep in to Western China. He's at the top of his game in his third book on China and a great read, no matter how much or how little you've read about China.
His first two books were good but this one tops them both. He unlocks the Chinese countryside with country driving. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in contemporary china.
Reader mispronounces Chinese words
I enjoyed the book, but it would have been nice if they had chosen a reader who actually knew how to pronounce Mandarin words. He got most of them right, but the few he got wrong (and were repeated multiple times) grated on my nerves.