Country Driving: A Chinese Road Trip

WED, FEB 9, 2011 (56:25)

The New Yorker's longtime Beijing correspondent Peter Hessler discusses his latest exploration of everyday life in China, Country Driving: A Chinese Road Trip.

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.

+ BIO: Peter Hessler

Peter Hessler is an American writer and journalist. He is well known for his two books, China, River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze (2001) and Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China's Past and Present (2006).

Hessler graduated Princeton University in 1992 and won a Rhodes Scholarship to study English language and literature at the University of Oxford. In 1996, he joined the Peace Corps and spent the next two years teaching English at a local college in Fuling, China. Since 1999, he has lived in Beijing as a freelance writer. He is currently married to journalist and writer Leslie T. Chang.

In 1999, Peter Hessler started a Yahoo Scholarship Fund which supports students in Sichuan, Chongqing and Tibet.

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