This was recommended by an expat in China. Troost is a travel writer, not a China guy, but he's not trying to pretend to be a China guy. The beginning was a little slow because Troost rightfully assumes most of his readers know nothing about China, so it's pretty basic, but he's so fun to follow around China that it didn't matter much. And it doesn't take long for him to quit mentioning the toilets (mostly) and the habits of some Chinese that irritate him. Some travel writers never manage to do that.
He covers a pretty large chunk of China, even if he decides that he doesn't need to go to Xinjiang because he wouldn't learn anything more there about China than he did in Tibet. I obviously disagree, but I can also understand why he assumed that, and why you'd skip that part anyway. It's a long way from the rest of China. But he does go to Tibet, and Dunhuang, and everything you're supposed to go to in the eastern half of China.
Troost always, always writes from his very western viewpoint and is great at describing what he sees. This is not the place, however, to get into why things are the way they are in China. I expected to be annoyed, but Troost writes well enough that I could overlook some of my usual travel book complaints. So read it, but read some better books about China too, especially if you're going there.