Excellent Country Driving by Peter Hessler reviewd here and here. From the second review:
"There is a myth, one believed by many Chinese, that foreigners do not and cannot understand China. This book shows that this myth is simply nonsense.
Hessler makes the effort. He drives through many of the least developed provinces and villages in China and down little country lanes for months on end. He camps in the open air and lives on Red Bull, chocolate bars and Oreos. He saw the China where villagers worked for months to dig useless tree holes even though the diggers only received two bags of instant noodles each day to show for their work; the China where young people move away to cities or towns to find jobs while the elderly cling to their old life in the villages; the China where desperate migrants have to lie about their age and identities to seize a job in a booming industrial coastal town. Even many Chinese, especially those who live in the cosmopolitan illusion of Shanghai and Beijing, are unaware of this China. It may not always be pretty in pieces, but there is great beauty in the mosaic of a people living their lives in a time of great change and working to make a better life for themselves and their children. It is a China I want more people to know about."
Author Peter Hessler reads from his China memoir Country Driving before a Q & A with Emily Parker of the Center on US-China Relations. (1 hr., 6 min.) from Asia Society which has many other interesting interviews.
Thanks to Jack Morava for sending the book.