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The Shanghai Free Taxi

The Shanghai Free Taxi

Journeys with the Hustlers and Rebels of the New China

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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Genre: Nonfiction / History / Asia / China

On Sale: June 11th 2019

Price: $25.98 / $33.98 (CAD)

ISBN-13: 9781549149818

What's Inside

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Meet The Author: Frank Langfitt

Frank Langfitt is NPR’s London correspondent, covering Brexit, terrorism and other stories in Western Europe. Before coming to the United Kingdom, he spent a decade as a reporter in China, most recently as NPR’s correspondent in Shanghai, where he drove a free taxi around the city for a series on a changing China as seen through the eyes of ordinary people. Langfitt got the idea for the series from his experience decades earlier driving taxis in Philadelphia during summers home from college. The NPR radio series inspired his first book, “The Shanghai Free Taxi: Journeys with the Hustlers and Rebels of the New China.”


In 2008, Langfitt covered the Beijing Olympics as a member of NPR’s team, which won an Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting. From 1997 to 2002, he was the Baltimore Sun’s Beijing correspondent, covering a swath of Asia from the Khyber Pass to East Timor. Langfitt is a graduate of Princeton and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. He lives outside London with his wife, Julie, and their two children. Follow him on Twitter @franklangfitt
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In the News

Praise

"Langfitt's understated yet intimate interviews with his passengers and captivating descriptions of the country and food take center stage. In addition to encountering real people, listeners will learn about a unique nation as they enjoy a first-rate jaunt around its territory."—-Audiophile Magazine
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