This is Hessler’s third book on China. He speaks the language, has lived in-country for more than 10 years, writes regular reports for The New Yorker and National Geographic, and has made it his job to immerse himself in the heart of China’s transition from peasantry to global economic powerhouse. Country Driving contains three scenes: the depopulating countryside, economic transition in a small towns near Beijing, and the explosive growth of a newly constructed factory town. Hessler’s insight is exceptional, but the book feels somehow impersonal, despite being full of stories of real people. It veers towards textbook, never a good thing, but is worth it for its depth, breadth, and timeliness.