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Country Driving A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory (Hardcover)

Author:  Peter Hessler
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Format: Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0061804096
ISBN-13: 9780061804090
Sku: 211424616
Publish Date: 2/9/2010
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 9.25H x 6.25L x 1.5T
Pages:  438
See more in Essays & Travelogues
From the bestselling author of "Oracle Bones" and "River Town" comes the final book in Hessler''s award-winning China trilogy in which the author highlights the human side of the economic revolution in China.
From the Publisher:

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.

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.

Many westerners have dedicated themselves to studying and traveling in China, but very few have been zealous enough to acquire a Chinese driver's license, which is what makes New Yorker reporter Peter Hessler such a unique and invaluable guide to the world's largest nation. Hessler ventured out among the dangerously inexperienced and downright reckless drivers of China on an epic road trip through many of the desolate regions which have been left in the dust kicked up by the nation's accelerated modernization. Displaying an uncanny knack for identifying the contradictions inherent to such a massive social transformation, Hessler documents his fascinating interactions with villagers who are torn between their loyalties to ancient traditions and their desire to claim their share of the new prosperity. Some of the more memorable portions of Hessler's remarkable journey include a long sojourn with the family of an engaging entrepreneur and a visit to a dilapidated factory which manufactures bra parts. Selected by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2010.


"Hessler again proves himself America's keenest observer of the New China....[H]e 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 itself into the future with only the sketchiest of maps." (starred review) 10/19/2009

"[Hessler] explores the remnants of [China's] dying rural past and its booming, uncertain urban future....The result is a remarkably detailed, engrossing account of China today. The human side of China's great transformation, told with humor, affection and great insight." (starred review) 12/15/2010

"A fascinating and frequently surprising look at China from a very unusual perspective." - David Pitt 12/01/2009

" a keen observer of...mind-catching details and an engaging storyteller....COUNTRY DRIVING offers a ground-level mosaic of life amid the nation's transition into a modern economic and political powerhouse....Full of exotic detail, solid reporting, and ironic observation, country driving offers a personal snapshot of the world's second superpower hurtling through the 21st century." - Michael Kenney 02/12/2010

"COUNTRY DRIVING....shows the effects China's ever expanding network of roads exerts on individual lives....In a sedan stocked with Oreos, Dove bars and Cokes...Hessler sets out with some suspect maps and a great deal of bravado. The authorities eventually discover his unauthorized meanderings, but not before he's spent time with dozens of lively characters." - Alida Becker 02/28/2010

"The story of this emerging China has been told before, of course, by other writers, and by Mr. Hessler himself, in his previous books and magazine journalism. But the reporting in COUNTRY DRIVING is impressive in its scope. This book contains dozens of characters and multiple set-pieces and subplots. Along the way Mr. Hessler delivers eloquent disquisitions on everything from how to buy a used car in China and what hospital stays are like to the history of the Mongol conquest and the pros and cons of the Great Wall as a defensive structure." - Dwight Garner 02/23/2010

Product Attributes

Product attributeBook Format:   Hardcover
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0438
Product attributePublisher:   Harper
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