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Publisher's Summary

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.
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Critic Reviews

"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." ( review)
"Peter Hessler is a fine tour guide for the new China, a writer who is capable of tossing aside the country’s (deplorable) maps and admitting: 'In China, it’s not such a terrible thing to be lost, because nobody else knows exactly where they’re going, either.'....It’s not merely that Mr. Hessler convinces us that the Chinese, being new to driving, are simply awful at it. He makes the additional, and delightful, case that perhaps no other people 'take such joy in driving badly.'" (The New York Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Timothy on 06-22-10

In defense of the narrator

Just wanted to say how much I've enjoyed this audio book, along with Oracle Bones, also by Peter Hessler and narrated by Peter Berkrot. True, the narrator's pronunciation of Chinese words is not native-like, but overall I would rate the narration very high, and would hate to think that someone might pass up this book just because of that! The Chinese words are quite comprehensible, and Mr. Berkrot's engaging style of narration helped to make the 18-ish hour audio book a real pleasure!

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

By BARRY on 03-04-10

Excellent book and narration

This is a well-written, very entertaining book about how everyday people in China are moving from a rural economy to a modern one. It's amazing to me how Hessler was able to gain the confidence of so many people in order to learn how they really feel about the things going on around them. We learn some of the cultural differences between us and people in China, but I came away thinking that we're not really that different. I give this audiobook four stars and would note to potential buyers that the mediocre overall rating so far owes much to the 1-star rating of the previous reviewer who supposedly liked the book but not the narrator. Hit the sample button to see if you like the narration. I thought the reader was very good at voice characterization, and there are a lot of different voices to perform here - from very young children to older men and women.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Lucy Yan Liu on 07-14-11

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.
love it!!!!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

By Chelin on 12-05-12

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!

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