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The Road to Sleeping Dragon: Learning China from the Ground Up – A Q&A with Author Michael Meyer

Michael Meyer’s 2008 debut book, The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed, recounted his time spent living in the crowded hutong alleyways of China’s capital during the run-up to that year’s Olympics. In 2015, he published In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China, which picked up Meyer’s story as he moved to his wife’s hometown in the countryside and immersed himself in the history of the country’s northeast region. In a new book, The Road to Sleeping Dragon: Learning China from the Ground Up, Meyer circles back to his first days in China, when he arrived in 1995 as a 23-year-old Peace Corps volunteer who couldn’t use chopsticks, spoke no Chinese, and “knew little about the country beyond the Great Wall, pandas, one billion people, fortune cookies, and the indelible image of a man standing in front of a tank.” The Road to Sleeping Dragon follows Meyer as he finds his footi ...

Excerpt: Opening to China, by Charlotte Furth

Charlotte Furth is Professor Emerita of History at the University of Southern California and previously taught at California State University, Long Beach. She is author of numerous academic articles and books, including A Flourishing Yin: Gender in China’s Medical History, 960-1665 (University of California Press, 1999), for which she received the “Women in Science” award from the History of Science Society. In 2012, the AAS honored Furth with its “Distinguished Contributions to Asian Studies” award in recognition of her decades of service to the field. Furth earned her Ph.D. in Chinese history at Stanford University in 1965—an era when it was virtually impossible for Americans to travel to the People’s Republic. With the establishment of relations between the United States and PRC over the course of the 1970s, Furth and other scholars finally had the opportunity to spend time in the country they studied. She visited the PRC for the first time in 1976 on a two-week d ...

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