Rob Gifford's wonderful book about China describes a trip he took across China. It's a wonderful read, and its clear that Gifford loves China and its people. The most fascinating thing that I learned was that China is more diverse than the government lets on. Gifford says that China today is analogous to the Roman Empire: a motley collection of peoples held together by force. (He also makes the humorous statement that "going out for Chinese food" is analogous to "going out for European food".) All in all, a definite must-read if you're interested in China!