Gifford first went to China in 1987 as a language student, and he then stayed on to become a journalist, eventually for National Public Radio. He married a Chinese classmate and took to the road, traveling all over China and speaking with all manner of people. He has now produced a lively book full of vivid descriptions of what China is like today (and what it was like in earlier eras). This is a book that can be read by both newcomers to China and veteran China hands. The latter, no matter how knowledgeable, will still find pleasure in reacting to Gifford's insightful observations and interpretations. Although Gifford recognizes that China has strong links to its history, he also emphasizes that new things are happening, making for an uncertain future.