15 August 2007

China Road, by Rob Gifford

I must admit to only reading part, perhaps half, of this book. But it was new, and the library wouldn't let me keep it any longer. Lord knows I have to stay on good terms with that institution.

China is certainly an up-and-coming power and force in the world, in terms of economic and political influence. This book is a look at the state of the country from the viewpoint of NPR correspondent Rob Gifford, who takes and incredible long road trip along route 312, "the route 66 of China."

Gifford interviews "old hundred names," the traditional name for the common people of China, and provides a picture of what their lives are like. Whether they are truck drivers, coal miners, or prostitutes, Gifford talks to them and writes about their hopes and dreams, and their predictions for the future of the nation.

Whether Gifford's assessment of the politics and economy of China is correct I leave to experts. What I took away from this book was the feeling that I had met several contemporary Chinese working people and experienced their common humanity. They are, after all, no different than any of us who struggle to get by.

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