China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power
I'm thoroughly enjoying Rob Gifford's China Road, which follows the NPR Beijing correspondent from Shanghai along China's east-west artery to the "Wild West" of China. I picked it up, in part, because he actually spends time in Henan province, the place I'll be traveling with eleven high school youth this summer. Henan is, shall we say, not a glamorous place, and Gifford's tales from that location are not the sorts of things the folks in Beijing want the world to see. But Gifford has a wonderfully warm style that helps us see both China's charms as well as its historical baggage and potential downfalls. The most pleasant surprise, though, has been that Gifford reports on religion in China with a frank confession of his own Christian faith. How often do you hear that on NPR? It's not a major focus of the book, but I am so grateful that he included the vignettes he did, such as the story of stopping in at a rural church's Sunday service and finding himself asked to preach. I appreciate it when people with an audience as big as Gifford's can simply and unapologetically say they are religious, and in Gifford's case his journalism seems the better for it.