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Country Driving

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on June 18, 2011

A brief diversion to recommend a book, Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory by Peter Hessler. It is a non-fiction book. Hessler lived in China for a number of years and is a writer for The New Yorker and for National Geographic.

The book is arranged into 3 books, or sections. The first section is devoted to his travels around the Great Wall. He talks to people every where he goes and finds out a lot of the history of the Great Wall. The only historians for the wall are self-educated peasants who value the history of the Wall(s).

In the second section, he lives part-time in a village and gets to know the people there. Some valuable insights evolve about Chinese people as he tells us about his friends (and some who are not friends) in the village. He becomes observes and becomes involved in the village life. I learned a lot about education, culture, etc. in this section.

The third section is about the factories and the people in the Development Zone. He befriends some of the workers in the factory and the factory owners. While I didn’t think this section would be as good as the other 2, it held some surprises for me. The Chinese attitudes toward work and business were interesting.

I found some of my conceptions about China to be confirmed, but yet my impressions changed as I became acquainted with the characters in this book.

It is a fascinating read. I highly recommend it.

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