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

Bloomsbury Publishing USA
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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 chopsticks, Meyer wrote Chinese words up and down his arms so he could hold conversations, and, per a Communist dean's orders, jumped into teaching his students about the Enlightenment, the stock market, and Beatles lyrics. Soon he realized his Chinese counterparts were just as bewildered by China's changes as he was.

Thus began an impassioned immersion into Chinese life. With humor and insight, Meyer
puts readers in his novice shoes, introducing a fascinating cast of characters while winding across the length and breadth of his adopted country --from a terrifying bus attack on arrival, to remote Xinjiang and Tibet, into Beijing's backstreets and his future wife's Manchurian family, and headlong into efforts to protect China's vanishing heritage at places like "Sleeping Dragon," the world's largest panda preserve.

In the last book of his China trilogy, Meyer tells a story both deeply personal and universal, as he gains greater – if never complete – assurance, capturing what it feels like to learn a language, culture and history from the ground up. Both funny and relatable, The Road to Sleeping Dragon is essential reading for anyone interested in China's history, and how daily life plays out there today.
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About the author

A two-time winner of a Lowell Thomas Award for travel writing, Michael Meyer has also won a Whiting Writers' Award for nonfiction and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His stories have appeared in the New York Times, Time, Smithsonian, Slate, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and on This American Life. He is the author of The Last Days of Old Beijing and In Manchuria. Meyer teaches writing at the University of Pittsburgh.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing USA
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Published on
Oct 10, 2017
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781632869371
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
History / Asia / China
Travel / Asia / China
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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“This is history on a grand scale, with a sweep and ambition that is rare… A proper historical epic of dazzling range and achievement.” —William Dalrymple, The Guardian 
 
The epic history of the crossroads of the world—the meeting place of East and West and the birthplace of civilization

It was on the Silk Roads that East and West first encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas, cultures and religions. From the rise and fall of empires to the spread of Buddhism and the advent of Christianity and Islam, right up to the great wars of the twentieth century—this book shows how the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East.

Peter Frankopan realigns our understanding of the world, pointing us eastward. He vividly re-creates the emergence of the first cities in Mesopotamia and the birth of empires in Persia, Rome and Constantinople, as well as the depredations by the Mongols, the transmission of the Black Death and the violent struggles over Western imperialism. Throughout the millennia, it was the appetite for foreign goods that brought East and West together, driving economies and the growth of nations.

From the Middle East and its political instability to China and its economic rise, the vast region stretching eastward from the Balkans across the steppe and South Asia has been thrust into the global spotlight in recent years. Frankopan teaches us that to understand what is at stake for the cities and nations built on these intricate trade routes, we must first understand their astounding pasts. Far more than a history of the Silk Roads, this book is truly a revelatory new history of the world, promising to destabilize notions of where we come from and where we are headed next.


From the Hardcover edition.
ON THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL, MICHAEL MEYER PROVIDES A RIVETING EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF THE COLLAPSE OF COMMUNISM IN EASTERN EUROPE THAT BRILLIANTLY REWRITES OUR CONVENTIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THE COLD WAR CAME TO AN END AND HOLDS IMPORTANT LESSONS FOR AMERICA'S CURRENT GEOPOLITICAL CHALLENGES.

" Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" President Ronald Reagan's famous exhortation when visiting Berlin in 1987 has long been widely cited as the clarion call that brought the Cold War to an end. The United States won, so this version of history goes, because Ronald Reagan stood firm against the USSR; American resoluteness brought the evil empire to its knees.

Michael Meyer, who was there at the time as a Newsweek bureau chief, begs to differ.

In this extraordinarily compelling account of the revolutions that roiled Eastern Europe in 1989, he shows that American intransigence was only one of many factors that provoked world-shaking change. Meyer draws together breathtakingly vivid, on-the-ground accounts of the rise of the Solidarity movement in Poland, the stealth opening of the Hungarian border, the Velvet Revolution in Prague and the collapse of the infamous wall in Berlin. But the most important events, Meyer contends, occurred secretly, in the heroic stands taken by individuals in the thick of the struggle, leaders such as poet and playwright Vaclav Havel in Prague; the Baltic shipwright Lech Walesa; the quietly determined reform prime minister in Budapest, Miklos Nemeth; and the man who privately realized that his empire was already lost, and decided -- with courage and intelligence -- to let it go in peace,Soviet general secretary of the communist party, Mikhail Gorbachev.

Reporting for Newsweek from the frontlines in Eastern Europe, Meyer spoke to these players and countless others. Alongside their deliberate interventions were also the happenstance and human error of history that are always present when events accelerate to breakneck speed. Meyer captures these heady days in all of their rich drama and unpredictability. In doing so he provides not just a thrilling chronicle of the most important year of the twentieth century but also a crucial refutation of American political mythology and a triumphal misunderstanding of history that seduced the United States into many of the intractable conflicts it faces today. The Year That Changed the World will change not only how we see the past, but also our understanding of America's future.
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