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JULY 20, 2012
How well do you know the world’s most populous country?

 

 

Did you know that China has more than 160 cities with populations over 1 million, is the world’s largest exporter, and is on the verge of its most significant leadership transition in decades?  This rapidly evolving country is a fascinating study in contrasts: old vs. new, rural vs. urban, rich vs. poor. If you’re interested in the people and places that make China what it is today, we hope you’ll enjoy these titles:

 

Out of Mao’s Shadow: the struggle for the soul of a new China by Phillip Pan                     
shadow
 
How can a country lean towards capitalism while maintaining the structures of      authoritarian communist rule? This title, based on years of the author’s journalistic experience talking with everyone from entrepreneurs to peasants to political officials, provides a good starting point for those seeking answers to this question and more.
 
 
 
Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler
 
oracleHessler’s writing combines the best of human interest with history, economics and politics to create engaging non-fiction. Oracle Bones, along with the author’s other titles on China (Country Driving and River Town), provide insightful glances into the lives of everyday Chinese while educating the reader of the larger historical circumstances surrounding them.
 
comrade
 
 
 
Decades after betraying a friend during the Cultural Revolution, the author returns  to China to find the former classmate and make amends. An interesting look at university life in Beijing at the time around the Cultural Revolution contrasted against modern-day life just before the 2008 Olympic Games.
 
 
China Road by Rob Gifford
 
road
 
China Road is the tale of an NPR correspondent’s journey along China’s “Mother Road”, Route 312 from Shanghai to the Kazakhstan border. Following parts of the old Silk Road over 3,000 miles, Gifford brings the reader along on an armchair discovery of China complete with humor, sadness and adventure.  
 
 
 
 
 

 


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