Ostensibly a travel narrative, the book is based on a journey the author, on his last stretch in
What makes the retelling of the journey so interesting is the layering of personalities, place, and history that Gifford uses to construct a unique insight in the reality of the whole of
Gifford provides an entertaining primer on how
More importantly through, he details the dichotomy of the two Chinas: the prosperous crust of Eastern and
This on-the-ground insight about
In the end the reader gets a vivisection of modern
The seven part NPR series Gifford produced in parallel with the book is terrific too. You can hear the segments at the NPR Webiste.
Want a little more history? I schlepped the hardcover version of The Dragon and the Foreign Devils with me during two China-Taiwan runs in 2007. It was worth it.