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Book Clubbing

Introduction

Country Driving
by Peter Hessler

Title

Author

Peter Hessler

Peter Hessler

Author Interview

About the Book

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.

About the Author

Peter Hessler is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where he served as Beijing correspondent from 2000-2007, and is also a contributing writer for National Geographic. He is the author of River Town, which won the Kiriyama Book Prize, and Oracle Bones, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He won the 2008 National Magazine Award for excellence in reporting.

Discussion Questions

  1. What other information sources have provided information for you about China? How does the information from these sources compare to that provided by Hessler?
  2. How has this book affected your thinking about studying other cultures and parts of the world?
  3. What do you think is the main theme of this book? Is there a message the author is trying to communicate?
  4. Some people say that China is challenging the role of the US as the world’s superpower. After reading this book, what do you think about national power, international relations, and global dominance? What do you think are similarities and differences between China and the US?
  5. What do you think someone visiting the US would think about Americans?  What do you think about “the Chinese” after reading this book?
  6. After reading about people from all walks of life, what do you think are the challenges and opportunities for the progress of China?
  7. What are the strengths and weaknesses of studying another country through memoir? What do you think about the author’s use of humor and personal stories?