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

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

by Michael Meyer


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


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, 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781632869357
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 10/10/2017
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 823,953
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

A two-time winner of a Lowell Thomas Award for travel writing, MICHAEL MEYER is also the recipient of the 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. The author of The Last Days of
Old Beijing and In Manchuria, Meyer teaches nonfiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xv

Chapter 1 A Plunge into the Middle Country 1

Chapter 2 On the Stall-for-Time River 21

Chapter 3 Every Village Faces the Sun 39

Chapter 4 Sinking In 58

Chapter 5 Parting the Cloud of Compassion 70

Chapter 6 Far and Away in Tibet 86

Chapter 7 Tomorrow Will Be Even Better (but Today Things Will Just Get Worse) 99

Chapter 8 Thought Liberation 110

Chapter 9 Beijing Spring 126

Chapter 10 Meet the Parents 149

Chapter 11 Signposts 169

Chapter 12 Three Protests 179

Chapter 13 Arrivals and Departures 194

Chapter 14 Digressions on the New Frontier 209

Chapter 15 Countdown Clocks 229

Chapter 16 Defending the Ghosts 240

Chapter 17 Learning to Speak Olympics 250

Chapter 18 The Road to Sleeping Dragon 264

Chapter 19 "One World, One Dream" One Year Later 270

Chapter 20 A Trans-Siberian Exit 277

Acknowledgments 285

Notes 287

Customer Reviews