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The Road to Sleeping Dragon: Learning China from the Ground Up

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  104 ratings  ·  14 reviews
From the highly praised author of The Last Days of Old Beijing, a brilliant portrait of China today and a memoir of coming of age in a country in transition.

In 1995, at the age of twenty-three, Michael Meyer joined the Peace Corps and, after rejecting offers to go to seven other countries, was sent to a tiny town in Sichuan. Knowing nothing about China, or even how to use
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Bloomsbury USA
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Becky Loader
May 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Meyer's time in China was very productive for him. He learned about popular culture from beginning to end. His descriptions of travel experiences and teaching are very interesting, but ultimately I was disappointed by the ending.
Chris Csergei
May 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Neither insightful or interesting. His "ground up" view is really just a story from his perspective, and reads like a travel log/journal. Not really worth your time.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I couldn’t put this book down and really enjoyed his first two books of narrative non-fiction. Yet I kept finding myself scribbling notes in the margins in this one. Like when he talks about the design on the renminbi and how that’s changed and how foreigners used to pay much more than locals for just about everything in China, but there’s no mention of FEC. That kind of stood out. And when he and his wife traveled around China before they got married, there was no mention of needing a marriage ...more
Pak Sun Ng
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quite similar to Hessler’s River Town
I received this book for Christmas last year and decided to read Meyer's first two books first, and I'm glad I did - not because you need to read them in order, but because I enjoyed the first two a lot more. While The Last Days of Old Beijing and In Manchuria used more of a reporter's approach to delve into specific places and topics, The Road to Sleeping Dragon was much broader, providing a retrospective on Meyer's experiences in China to date. He didn't delve into any one topic, but instead g ...more
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you've always wondered what it's like to join the Peace Corps and see a foreign country from within here is your answer. Meyer is in China at the perfect time as it transitions from old to new, out of Mao's time into whatever comes next. Witty, observant, self-critical. He makes an insightful observation that many travelers miss: you get so focused on crossing sites and cities off your to do list that you forget the real story is the people you meet along the way. I will definitely check out ...more
Gary McCray
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredible book delivering the reality of China rushing from a rural and urban neighborhood culture to a modern power. As a regular traveler to the new China of endless factories and western hotels this provided a perspective that wish I would have experienced. Thanks to Michael Meyer fr sharing.
Carol Wakefield
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mr Meyer lived and worked in China during some rapidly changing times. His views of a China that was opening to the west, planning for the olympics and modernizing its infrastructure and ideas were fascinating. He made the people he met real to this reader in coping with changes they had little to no way to effect
Bill Langeman
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-written book which is compelling on several levels. I loved finding out about China which I think I did a little bit through this book and I loved following the character developments and relationships which matured over many years.
Jun 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I probably would have enjoyed it more before I read all the Peter hesslers and more China experiences books. It’s cool to read about his experience of back and forth between US and China and the occasional mentions if hessler
Sep 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Good book, readable, started meandering sentimentally a bit after the part where he meets his girlfriend (now wife) so I stopped midway. But good writer
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Interesting travel book of China. The author lives and travels off the tourist paths.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at the rapid changes - social, economic, political, and cultural - in China over the last two decades.
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Michael Meyer is an American travel writer and the author of In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China and The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed. He graduated from University of Wisconsin–Madison. He first went to China in 1995 with the Peace Corps. Following Peace Corps, he graduated from the University of Califo ...more

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“Maybe Beijing kept tearing itself down to bury its unexamined past. Memories didn’t stick to the sleek sides of skyscrapers. Make the sofas thick, the music loud, the televisions large, the cars fast. Blur and round and smooth the past until it becomes as rumored as this disappearing hútòng. Older people will say it was there, they saw it. Their younger listeners will nod politely, unable to imagine something they’d never seen.” 0 likes
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