As any traveler knows, some of the best and most honest conversations take place during car rides. So, when a long-time NPR correspondent wanted to learn more about the real China, he started driving a cab – and discovered a country amid seismic political and economic change.
China – America’s most important competitor – is at a turning point. With economic growth slowing, Chinese people face inequality and uncertainty as their leaders tighten control at home and project power abroad.
In this adventurous, original book, NPR correspondent Frank Langfitt describes how he created a free taxi service – offering rides in exchange for illuminating conversation – to go beyond the headlines and get to know a wide range of colorful, compelling characters representative of the new China. They include folks like “Beer”, a slippery salesman who tries to sell Langfitt a used car; Rocky, a farm boy turned Shanghai lawyer; and Chen, who runs an underground Christian church and moves his family to America in search of a better, freer life.
Blending unforgettable characters, evocative travel writing, and insightful political analysis, The Shanghai Free Taxi is a sharply observed and surprising book that will help listeners make sense of the world’s other superpower at this extraordinary moment.