I believe outsiders can sometimes look at things with a fresh pair of eyes and give us amazing insight. Examples include director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant‘s look at Britain. Sam Mendes‘ look at America.
I just had a listen of Rob Gifford‘s CHINA ROAD: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power and highly enjoyed it. Here is an excerpt from Rob‘s bio at NPR,
[Rob Gifford] came to London in 2005, after six years as NPR’s correspondent in Beijing.
[…] His first book, CHINA ROAD: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power was published in 2007 by Random House. CHINA ROAD tells of his 3,000 mile odyssey across China, following the country’s equivalent of the US Route 66 –- called Route 312 — all the way from Shanghai to the Kazakh border. The book is based upon a seven-part radio series that Gifford filed for Morning Edition.
Here are some praises of “CHINA ROAD: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power“,
““How I envy Rob Gifford and his journey along China Road. How grateful I am to him for allowing me to share the trip through his vivid writing and his deep knowledge of and great love for China. As vicarious enjoyment goes, this one’s a ten.”
–Ted Koppel, managing editor, Discovery Channel
“My gosh, I loved Rob Gifford’s book. His journey along Route 312 is a great road story–from Hooters in Shanghai to the Iron House of Confucianism. China Road is insightful, funny, analytical, anecdotal, full of humble humor and magnificent discoveries.”
–Scott Simon, host of NPR’s Weekend Edition and author of Pretty Birds
“Here is China end to end, told from its equivalent of Route 66 as Gifford journeys from Shanghai to the distant west, talking to truck drivers, merchants, hermits, and whores. Gifford portrays China with affection and humor, in all its complexity, energy, hopefulness, and risk.”
–Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, Columbia University”
Check out Rob’s NPR free online seven-part radio series. If you enjoy the radio series as much as I did, I highly recommend you borrow or buy a copy of “CHINA ROAD” to have a read (or listen, the book is on a book CD).
Credit: I first heard of this wonderful book via “22 July, 2009, 蘋論–「西行漫記」新篇：中國紅星的殞落“.
Note: “《 312號公路》年前出版的英文原書名是《 China Road》，副題是「 A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power」。”