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.
Rob Gifford does a phenomenal job with this book. He travels down the China Road talking and listening to the people he meets along the way. He talks to people standing on the corner, working in the fields, sitting on the bus - anywhere he has the opportunity. If they invite him to dinner or to a local activity, he goes. Then he relates the stories to us as if he's sitting at the dinner table with us - one great story after another. He expresses theories about why things are the way they are based on the country's history, while thankfully sparing us any judgements about right vs wrong. Toward the end, he seemed a tad weary of his travels and the pace slowed down, but not enough to diminish the 5 stars the book deserves.
This is a really great and still fairly relevant analysis of China. Also it is one of the most interesting travelogues I have ever read.
Whatever your current opinion is about the rise of China, be it a good thing or bad thing for America and Europe, this book will leave you with mixed emotions on the subject. As for me, I would love it if the whole world had plenty. The only problem is that if the whole world goes through the process needed to obtain plenty, there won't be much of the world left, afterwards.
It provides an alternate way to experience the book. Convenience, drive time, walking, etc.
Personal experiences shared and beautiful writing.
The constraints of time don't allow this luxury. I also don't like to absorb too much at once.
Tackling a theme for a book as complex as China requires an enormous about of skill and knowledge and most of all sensitive objective approach. While deciding to purchase this book, I was a little wary because I did not want to become overwhelmed with academic and generalized discussions on how China???s rise is imminent and threatening. As it turned out, however, the book was a very enlightening experience. Not only did it provide a great deal of insights into China, it boosted my fascination with the topic even more. The author shares his experiences of traveling on route 312 from Shanghai all the way to the Kazakhstan border. Many of those experiences include candid conversations - not interviews - with the myriad of everyday Chinese. It often felt like I was part of the conversations. The author, Rob Gifford, skillfully weaves Chinese history, politics, and culture into a comprehensive story that reads like fiction but is actually a primary account of his time there. He shares his personal views in a manner that is thoughtful and credible, which includes his appreciation, as well as abhorrence of various aspects of Chinese society today. Having never visited China and now desiring to go there even more so, I feel like I could visit China with some important insights gained from reading ???China Road???. The author???s skill with words brings the land and people right into the mind from the high energy bustle to the tranquil and serene. I highly recommend this book for just about anyone. It is an easy and delightful read.
I "read" this book over a little over a week. It is a road book with great insights into the culture, history, and politics of China. It is refreshing that the author shares his point of view after much musing as he travels. Rob Gifford is a great reporter and a fine thinker. Highly recommended.
Rob Gifford shares insight on China from years of experiences living in the Middle Kingdom. His East to West trip includes revealing anecdotes about the lives and values of Chinese people in various regions. He talks about his encounters with Chinese Amway entrepreneurs, muslim minorities, an abortion nurse and her assistant, AIDS whistle-blowers, long-haul truck drivers, a talk radio female star, and other intriguing types. The style is in line with the NPR reporting tone: it comes across as poised, respectful, but without much wit or intensity. Overall, a pleasant and revealing book. Gifford's prognostics at the end of his book are so far spot on. Four years after he wrote his book, several of the events he anticipated have happened, such as the peasant pushbacks and the tenuous financial balance with the real estate excesses.
The reading too is calm, but not monotonous at all -- a bit soothing, yet active enough to stay interesting. A clear delivery, clean recording, and a hint of a British accent.
I truly enjoyed this book and found it entertaining and painlessly educational. I could see it as a PBS series - and hope that I do. Gifford clearly has a love of China and its people. He's critical the aspects of China's government that are stifling to its citizenry, but his view that people are more alike than different, despite huge cultural dissimilarities, shines through this book. A note on the performance: though I found the reader good, his voice seemed much older than the author, a runner with a young family, must have been. Since the narrative was non-fiction and voiced in 1st person, the older voice took some getting used to.