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The Shanghai Free Taxi: Journeys with the…
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The Shanghai Free Taxi: Journeys with the Hustlers and Rebels of the New… (edição: 2019)

de Frank Langfitt (Autor)

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472425,149 (4.33)7
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 readers make sense of the world's other superpower at this extraordinary moment.… (mais)
Membro:katewade
Título:The Shanghai Free Taxi: Journeys with the Hustlers and Rebels of the New China
Autores:Frank Langfitt (Autor)
Informação:PublicAffairs (2019), 320 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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The Shanghai Free Taxi: Journeys with the Hustlers and Rebels of the New China de Frank Langfitt

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What a wonderful look into the lives of ordinary Chinese people. The author, a journalist with NPR, offered free taxi rides in exchange for conversation while he was stationed in Shanghai. He presents the stories of 12 of those people....stories that go far beyond a taxi ride. He develops relationships with them; visits their home towns, attends weddings and meets several of them outside of China when they have emigrated or are studying abroad. It is a fascinating, common people, look at personal issues (education for children); political issues (views of the Communist regime in China, democracy in the US) and social issues (the devastating impact of the one-child policy).

What fascinated me was the strong control over the minds of citizens. Even those who had access to blocked websites rarely accessed them. People were often afraid to say what they thought, even in private. Another shocking aspect was the way the lack of trust among people led to behaviours such as not helping someone who collapsed in the street. We in the west hear about serious human rights abuses....this book opens the door a little wider and shows the often devastating results of an autocratic state on regular folks just trying to get by.

That said, the book is in no way a diatribe. Mr. Langfitt represents his subjects in a balanced way, showing both their opportunities and challenges. I think it is an honest and accurate portrayal. ( )
  LynnB | Dec 8, 2020 |
I was given an Advance Reading Copy of this book.
A book about a “foreigner” who offered free taxi rides to the people of Shanghai for the exchange of having a conversation sounded like it would be interesting. And it was. But it was much more than taxi-ride-length conversations. The author, a journalist who speaks Mandarin, followed some of these stories in much greater depth than I expected, following the turns in their lives, attending weddings, meeting them outside of China, knowing them over a period of years.

There was more freedom of speech in a free taxi, but it still pays to be circumspect when you live in China. But people did open up to him. After the ultimately disastrous reign of Mao, there was new hope and new disillusionment with President Xi, especially after he did away with term limits. Human rights seemed a new and novel concept to many.

There is so much contrast between the country people, even those who relocated to Shanghai, and the more privileged class of those born to better conditions in Shanghai. There is a chasm between the people barely getting by in their mud brick huts, and those enthralled with and buying Hermes Birkin bags.

There seemed to be little compassion for anyone or anything outside of family. An extremely cruel, ritualistic slaughter of a hog horrified me. And then I read about a woman who collapsed in the street, obviously needing help, when cars just drove around her. And a toddler who was hit by two cars, and still no one stopped.

As one person said, “Nothing is fair in today's society. The more skilled swindlers just cheat the weaker ones.”

Information that we can access with a click or two is almost impossible for most Chinese to see. And sadly, there seems to be no great push to change that. The United States was seen as a goal, a place where you could make your dreams come true with a little work and ingenuity. But people who had that goal became increasingly disillusioned, especially under the restrictive and xenophobic trump administration.

This is an eye-opening look at China, especially Shanghai, from the people who live there, and a good look at America from the outside. ( )
  TooBusyReading | Aug 10, 2019 |
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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 readers make sense of the world's other superpower at this extraordinary moment.

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