One of the ""Passport. . ."" series, a dense compilation of facts about the People's Republic of China. PRC is the third largest country in the world, containing a quarter of the world's population on 6.4% of the land surface, and the inheritor of one of the world's earliest advanced civilizations. It is a place struggling with primitive roads, communications, and plumbing, a major world power still striving to feed and house its people. Only recently accessible to visitors from the free world, it is fast losing its mysterious image but is still an object of fascination to the West. This book covers important topics and statistics, conveying something of the feel of the country. But China is so vast and diverse that it is easy to feel numb reading about the millions and billions of people or kilometers. A revision of the British edition to American usage, there are only minor lapses (such as ""1000 million"" instead of ""billion""). One or two of the graphics are bewildering, with arrows and bars going in all directions. Nevertheless, though no book can convey the sights (spectacular), smells (various), and people (friendly and likable) of China, this is a good reference, well supported by its extensive color photographs.