As mentioned earlier, John Pomfret's Chinese Lessons is a powerful and well-structured new book. A weirdly appropriate complement is Rachel DeWoskin's Foreign Babes in Beijing, published last year. Genuinely funny, frivolous by design, and as far as I can tell, insightful.
James Fallows is a staff writer for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. He and his wife, Deborah Fallows, are the authors of the new book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America, which has been a New York Times best seller and is the basis of a forthcoming HBO documentary.