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Country Driving: A Chinese Road Trip (P.S.)by Peter Hessler
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Exceptionally moving.... Hilarious.... An absolutely terrific book, at once highly entertaining and deeply instructive....Country Driving is a wonderful book about China that also happens to be a terrific book about the human race." The Huffington Post
"Peter Hessler, a modern Marco Polo crossing China in a rented Jeep Cherokee, has witnessed signs and wonders worthy of a Coen brothers film.... Every so often, I read a book that upends my perceptions about a place. This is one of them." Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
"Delightful.... Epic.... The reporting in Country Driving is impressive in its scope.... Hessler delivers eloquent disquisitions on everything from how to buy a used car in China to the history of the Mongol conquest." The New York Times Book Review
"A fascinating road trip through a land in transition.... Hessler's description of China's new drivers is hilarious.... Country Driving tells us as much about contemporary China even when Hessler is not on the road." The Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Hessler has made a career of interpreting contemporary China and, for my money, nobody does it better.... Hessler is a magnificent guide to this largely uncharted territory, witty, insightful, keenly aware of the ironies of this communist-capitalist society." The Wall Street Journal
"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." Bloomberg News
From the bestselling 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.
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.
About the Author
Peter Hessler is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where he served as the Beijing correspondent from 2000 to 2007, and is also a contributing writer for National Geographic. He is the author of River Town, which won the Kiriyama Book Prize, and Oracle Bones, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He won the 2008 National Magazine Award for excellence in reporting.
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