Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory is Peter Hessler’s (China 1996-98) third book on his host Peace Corps country. It is being published on Tuesday, February 9. Peter, who went to country-driving1China first as a Rhodes Scholar, then returned as a PCV, has lived on and off, mostly on, in China for over a decade. In the summer of 2001 he acquired a Chinese driver’s license and took his first road trip across the north of the country, following the route of the Great Wall and camping along the way.

Peter made two such journeys, one in the spring and one in the autumn; he traveled over 7,436 miles and went all the way to the Tibetan Plateau.

The second part of the book is focus on a family north of Beijing that has shifted from farming to business after their local road is paved. The third section is about a factory in southeastern China where a government-built expressway  transforms the once remote agricultural region into an industrial center.

In Publishers Weekly star review of his book, PW writes, “In his latest feat of penetrating social reportage, New Yorkerwriter Hessler again proves himself America keenest observer of the New China.”

I hope some of  you get to see and hear Peter talk about his book. I had asked the publisher, Harper’s, for a list of his readings, but I guess they  were too busy to get back to me. Here is a schedule of  his readings that I was able to put together.

New York City
Tuesday, February 9
Asia Society
6:30 pm
725 Park Avenue at 70th

Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, February 10
Politics & Prose
7:00 pm
5015 Connecticut Ave NW

San Francisco
Thursday February 18
Bookshop West Portal
7:00 pm
80 W. Portal Avenue

Seattle
Elliot Bay
Wednesday, February 24
7:00 pm 101 S. Main Street

Denver
The Tattered Cover Book Store
Wednesday, March 3
7:30 1628 16th Street