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.
"Meyer is an amiable narrator, and he introduces the reader to some of China's greatest paradoxes; notably a pride in history that coexists with a compulsion to destroy the past."—The New York Times Book Review
"A humorous, detailed chronicle of the kind of bewildering, bracing contact impressions between him and the Chinese that illustrate both the huge divide between the two countries as well as the shared humanity . . . [Meyer] delineates his experiences with a great verve and a light hand."—Kirkus Reviews
"Meyer has a sharp eye both for the details of two such contrasting cities, but also for the seismic changes China would undergo in a mere 20 years. There's neither outsize pride, nor false modesty, here, but instead a humility gained from an immersion that finds him continually off-balance, which creates its own sort of wisdom."—Booklist
"Meyer continues to present his fascinating and worthwhile impressions of China. . . . Those planning an actual trip to China as well as armchair travelers will be enlightened and entertained by this exceptional book."—Library Journal