We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Country Driving Audiobook
Country Driving
Written by: 
Peter Hessler
Narrated by: 
Peter Berkrot
Country Driving Audiobook

Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory

Regular Price:$29.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of Oracle Bones and River Town comes the final book in his award-winning trilogy, on the human side of the economic revolution in China.

In the summer of 2001, Peter Hessler, the longtime Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, acquired his Chinese driver's license. For the next seven years, he traveled the country, tracking how the automobile and improved roads were transforming China. Hessler writes movingly of the average people - farmers, migrant workers, entrepreneurs - who have reshaped the nation during one of the most critical periods in its modern history.

Country Driving begins with Hessler's 7,000-mile trip across northern China, following the Great Wall, from the East China Sea to the Tibetan plateau. He investigates a historically important rural region being abandoned, as young people migrate to jobs in the southeast.

Next, Hessler spends six years in Sancha, a small farming village in the mountains north of Beijing, which changes dramatically after the local road is paved and the capital's auto boom brings new tourism.

Finally, he turns his attention to urban China, researching development over a period of more than two years in Lishui, a small southeastern city where officials hope that a new government-built expressway will transform a farm region into a major industrial center.

Peter Hessler, whom The Wall Street Journal calls "one of the Western world's most thoughtful writers on modern China", deftly illuminates the vast, shifting landscape of a traditionally rural nation that, having once built walls against foreigners, is now building roads and factory towns that look to the outside world.

©2010 Peter Hessler (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The best yet from Peter Hessler, whose two earlier books, River Town and Oracle Bones, were exemplary forays into the genre. . . . Told with his characteristic blend of empathy, insight, and self-deprecating humor." (Time)

"[A]n utterly enjoyable guide, with a humane and empathetic eye for the ambitions, the failures, and the comedy of a country in which everybody, it seems, is on the move, and no one is quite sure of the rules." (Amazon.com review)

"Peter Hessler is a fine tour guide for the new China, a writer who is capable of tossing aside the country’s (deplorable) maps and admitting: 'In China, it’s not such a terrible thing to be lost, because nobody else knows exactly where they’re going, either.'....It’s not merely that Mr. Hessler convinces us that the Chinese, being new to driving, are simply awful at it. He makes the additional, and delightful, case that perhaps no other people 'take such joy in driving badly.'" (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (360 )
5 star
 (156)
4 star
 (134)
3 star
 (47)
2 star
 (15)
1 star
 (8)
Overall
4.3 (193 )
5 star
 (99)
4 star
 (63)
3 star
 (22)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.3 (197 )
5 star
 (91)
4 star
 (81)
3 star
 (18)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Raleigh greensboro, NC, United States 07-11-13
    Raleigh greensboro, NC, United States 07-11-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    201
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    90
    84
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "people of china > nation of china"

    i recently completed an 18 mo. term at a university
    the large home i lived in housed other doctors and teachers
    while there, i met a young business law professor from china

    as the time came for me to leave, he recommended a book
    he said it was " a truthful introduction " to the people of china
    peter hessler's book more than lives up to that assessment

    hessler's fearless life in china gives him a unique authority
    he drives their roads, eats their food and lives in their villages
    his rugged resilience is rewarded with their kindness and insight

    at this point, even the chinese don't believe in communism
    they will, in time, throw off the corrupt shell of party bureaucracy
    at that point, we'll see the true character of the chinese people

    peter hessler's book is an honest preview to that moment







    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James 11-13-11
    James 11-13-11 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    92
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    148
    113
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    8
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Just Got Back From China - This Book Was Right On!"

    I read Country Driving just weeks before going to China recently and I am so glad that I did. The author, Peter Hessler, does an excellent job in describing China, especially "off the beaten path".

    The book helped me to have an "open mind" and "put down some of my own stereotypes" about China, and go there to just enjoy the experience and take it all in.

    Thanks Peter Hessler for writing such a great book and helping me to thoroughly enjoy the great land and people of China!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph C. Wilson Atlanta, GA USA 03-27-11
    Joseph C. Wilson Atlanta, GA USA 03-27-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    81
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    2
    Overall
    "Author clearly loves China and you will too"

    Peter Hessler weaves a perfect tale of the aspirations of ordinary Chinese in a sympathetic way. In many ways, China's people have not changed from Pearl Buck's rural peasants of a century ago in "The Good Earth". The author gives a seamless sequel from the dynasties to today's modern China. The book gives countless insights into how the world's most-populated nation operates.

    The reader finds himself drawn to the numerous personal stories of how rural China is changing. While American politicians may attempt to scare their countryman by the rise of China, you find after reading it yourself less fearful of China's ascent on the world stage. The author clearly loves the rural Chinese people and you will too after listening to this excellent book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Natalie United States 11-21-15
    Natalie United States 11-21-15

    I like intellectual fiction with ideas, knowledge, technology, art, crafts, history, politics, & mystery, not violence or insipid romance

    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    75
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A wonderful look at what's been happening in China"

    I really enjoyed listening to this book. Though he is not Chinese, Peter Hessler spent several years in China and learned enough of the language to get around on his own and become friends with ordinary Chinese people. He rented a house in a small village north of Beijing close to the Great Wall and got to know one family really well. He learned about their elementary school, the health care system at the time, relations between married couples with children. He described how a husband and wife each pursued paths in business and local political leadership, and how some of them cooperate in traditional agricultural practices. He described how a man he knew mainly as an entrepreneur demonstrated traditional skills when joining other villagers in the fall walnut harvest. He made a special effort to understand what life was like for certain individuals in factory boom towns, and remote Western villages. He rented a car and drove thousands of miles to see what the country was like. I was impressed with how big and varied the country is and how Chinese people follow some of their own laws and rules only partially. The description of what the government tried to do to encourage economic opportunity was not unlike ours in some ways. Some things were changing rapidly when he was there. For example, the number of cars and drivers was increasing. It is an in depth look you can't get by just going there and visiting tourist sites.

    Some reviewers have said the narrator did not pronounce the Chinese language properly. That didn't bother me because I don't speak Mandarin. However I found myself wanting to understand the geographical locations better by researching them on the internet. I bought a hard copy of the book so I could know how the place names are spelled, but there are many different ways to spell the same Chinese word using our script. A couple of times it was hard to tell who was speaking in dialogue, but overall it is a wonderful book and I will read his others.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    UserOne 05-28-15
    UserOne 05-28-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thoroughly enjoyable look at a growing nation!"

    I couldn't put it down! Truly enjoyed this authors writing and work!

    Great listen even if you don't have an interest in automotive topics.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yiqian Xu 04-30-15
    Yiqian Xu 04-30-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great writing and narrative"

    This is such a well written book with vivid stories through personal experience. The writer covers many aspects of China, from the village to the factory. As a Chinese, I learn a lot from this book about my own country.

    The narrative is great and the narrator has a great voice as well as great pronunciation of Chinese. I really enjoyed this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R 01-12-15
    R 01-12-15

    Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    128
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hilariously bad narrator"

    This seems to be a typical Peter Hessler book; it's a meandering, well-researched and well-written examination of a quickly transforming nation. Sometimes I wish the trajectory the book travels was a bit straighter, but overall, I respect the author's design and intentions.

    However, the narrator was ridiculous! I can't tell if he enhances the book by adding unintentional humor, or if he completely derails it. All of his renderings of the Chinese people quoted in the book make it sound like they are born-and-bred New Yorkers, and possibly chain-smoking New Yorkers. (I suppose born-and-bred New Yorkers might disagree with me — this is an opinion of someone not from there.) Still, I wish the publisher had hired someone who is more familiar with Chinese accents, and who could have reproduced subtle and diverse voices for the many different people featured in this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gene Bowker 08-02-14
    Gene Bowker 08-02-14

    Gene Bowker

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "discover China through the eyes of an insider"
    What made the experience of listening to Country Driving the most enjoyable?

    The tidbits of daily life in a completely different culture. Learning more about what has happened to the author since his first book


    What other book might you compare Country Driving to and why?

    Any of Hessler's other books on his China experience


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I found it gave me a new appreciation for what life in China must be like.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruno Houston, TX, United States 12-26-13
    Bruno Houston, TX, United States 12-26-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting!"
    What did you love best about Country Driving?

    I love the naration, and the short stories found within. This was a wonderful book.


    What about Peter Berkrot’s performance did you like?

    Clear speaking skills, easy to understand, and changed his voice to go along with the characters. Loved the naration.


    Any additional comments?

    I have listened to 3 of Peter Hesslers books so far, and this one is enjoyable as well. Peter makes you learn of how the people of China are, and understand a different culture much better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jollypenno Perth 04-26-13
    Jollypenno Perth 04-26-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I'll never look at my bras in the same way again"

    Peter Hessler's a great storyteller and he draws you into his experiences with intelligence, respect, charm and good humor.

    He also gave me an understanding and appreciation of the people who made the stuff in my life that came from exactly the sort of places he describes so well. I've gained a whole new perspective about things I always took for granted (bra rings being just one example!)

    I didn't expect to enjoy this book so much, but found myself thoroughly absorbed in it and sad when this journey to China ended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.