If you're a fan of Rob Schmitz's outstanding reporting from China, first for Marketplace and more recently for NPR, then you'll love his book, The Street of Eternal Happiness. If you've not heard Rob's reporting, it is outstanding and rooted in a deep understanding of China and Chinese. He first went to China as a Peace Corps volunteer to teach English in the 1990s. He's spoken at USC a couple of times. I'll put in some links below. But this post is to encourage you to read his book, which is centered on the very street he and his family live on in Shanghai, but takes readers to many other places and times. He traces the country's rise through the lives he shares: the fellow who thrives on lively discussion and who runs a sandwich shop, the woman who has made her way selling flowers, and much more. Here's an interview we did with Rob on the book:
Right now, Amazon has a sale on the Kindle version of the book ($1.99), though you'll enjoy and learn from this book in whatever version you read. I can readily imagine assigning a chapter or more as an assignment in history or language arts classes.
Rob offered a vital corrective to the most popular story ever told on This American Life. See him talk about it at:
Here is the episode of This American Life with the retraction:
After you've dived into the book, please post your thoughts about it as replies to this message.