In the heart of China's Sichuan province, tucked away amid the terraced hills of the Yangtze River valley, lies the remote town of Fuling. Like many other small cities in this vast and ever-evolving country, Fuling is shifting gears and heading down a new path, one of change and vitality, tension and reform, disruption and growth. Its position at the crossroads came into sharp focus when [the author] arrived as a Peace Corps volunteer, marking the first time in more than half a century that the city had an American resident. [The author] taught English and American literature at the local college, but it was his students who taught him about the ways of Fuling - and about the complex process of understanding that takes place when one is immersed in a radically different society. [This book] is [a] portrait of a city that, much like China itself, is seeking to understand both what it was and what it someday will be.-Back cover.