The past, the present and the future of the Chinese culture presented without bias and lively along with living conditions, aspirations and dreams of the people of China and China provinces. Perfect
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this tale of travels across China. How China has developed in the last 25 years is amazing. Gifford interspersed history and folk tales with descriptions of his travels in a manner that was engaging and informative. I didn't want his trip to end. I highly recommend this book.
This is an amazing journey down the old China Road with the well known journalist who does an outstanding job bringing Chinese culture to life. The book is written with great
attention to detail so the listener can easily visualize the scenery and people. I was fascinated as the author befriended people along the road who helped him "get further" in the journey. I must confess I am a bit fascinated by the lifestyle of the international journalist so this may influence my review. I think if you are interested to learn more about the real China this book is for you.
While not riveting, this was still an interesting listen. The narrator projected the reflective nature of the book. It definitely provided some interesting context about China, it's many regions and people. This was an original approach for shedding light about China's past, present and potential future.
Rob Gifford offers a refreshing, up-close perspective on the people, culture, government, and prospective future of present-day China. The narrative is free from the fear-mongering and doomsday predictions that dominate most Western coverage of China, but is also acutely realistic about the challenges and issues China faces. Plus, it's a great off-the-beaten-path travel story that may inspire you to visit the Middle Kingdom for yourself.
Yes - I've read the book and have now listened to it. I'd do it again, because (as someone who lives in China) this is the best book on modern China that I've ever read. It is my first recommendation to anyone wanting to understand China today.
Simon Vance actually pronounces Chinese correctly. It is really horrible that so many great books on China have audiobooks with the most basic pronunciation errors, making it a constant cringe-inducing experience to anyone who knows even the most basic Chinese. The readers of Wild Swans, Factory Girls, and Peter Hessler's books all make these mistakes. It's as if someone read Les Miserables, and pronounced it "LESS MISERABLE-S" and the main villain "JAY-VERT". I'm not asking for the subtle consonants, or tones, or native pronunciation, but just the absence of the most basic errors - things a reader could learn with a ten minute "basic Chinese pronucniation" intro. Heck, just learning the following rules would solve 95% of the problems:
- Pronounce the "x" as an "sh", not a "z".
- Pronounce the "q" as a "ch", not a "k".
- Pronounce the "zh" as a "j", not a "z".
We wouldn't put up with this sort of thing for a minute from narrators of books in European settings. We wouldn't tolerate a reader who read the spanish-double "L" as a standard L and not a "Y". So why are these incompetent readers not screened out?
Audible obsessed lifelong learner.
This is the story of the rise of China through one journalist's 3000 mile trip down route 321 across the heart of China. Gifford looks into the evolving socialist society with Chinese characteristics as evolves from a very government controlled society as it struggles towards more openness under the fourth generation leadership. The characters Gifford meets along the route paint a hopeful story tainted with tragic remnants of the past that continue to hold on such as the HIV communities swept under the rug and the enforcement of the one child policy.
I was so sad when this book ended that I had to play it again. Rob Gifford was a China based journalist so he can sniff out a story. He started out across National Road 312 with a few contacts in his cell phone but no master plan. This allowed him to be open to those he encountered such as a Daoist Monk, in a remote cave who surprised him by coming out in shorts and a tank top and who gave him his cell phone number for future contact. Really!
The old sins of gambling,prostitution, and drug abuse have crept back into the country where they where once eradicated by deadly force. China,today,might be compared to the Robber Baron era in America. The wealthy get wealthier and the peons work extremely hard to maintain their tenuous existence.
It probably helps if you have been to China to really appreciate this book, but Mr. Gifford does an admirable job of creating an excellent picture of the land. His predictions for the future are couched in" maybes" but the future is left up to God.
Maybe the funniest story(but true) was about the author's attendance at an Amway meeting which is like one might have been in America 30 years ago and still exists in a variety of forms for"magnificent nutraceuticals". The head of the organization does actually have more cars than he can drive and a big house and a maid. Everyone else doesn't realize that their hard work is paying to it!
no, but he is an excellent narrator, and I wish he would read Peter the Great since I had to return that book due to the narration.
In Hunan province, 20 years ago,farmers and their families began selling their plasma or extra cash. The needles were probably not clean and the blood all went into a common vat. the cells were returned to the donor's bodies, but the cells were all mixed up so if a person without HIV got CD4 cells that were infected, they suddenly had a retrovirus that could kill them with AIDS. They did in massive numbers. The government tried to cover it up, but the survivors now get a minuscule pension. Ugly.
In the middle.
Lost on Planet China
First time listener to Simon Vance.
I have just moved to China and found the book very interesting. After listening to the author journey through China, there are many places he visited, I hope to visit while living here in China.
Vance does a good job of interrpretting the autor's perspective and giving the words more meaning.
I enjoyed the book and learned a lot about China. The story was well paced but did have lots of extra detail. Overall I enjoyed the book.