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by Peter Hessler

  • ISBN: 0060195444
  • Category: Travel
  • Author: Peter Hessler
  • Subcategory: Asia
  • Other formats: mobi docx rtf lit
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st edition (January 23, 2001)
  • Pages: 416 pages
  • FB2 size: 1937 kb
  • EPUB size: 1557 kb
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Votes: 902
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River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze is a 2001 book by Peter Hessler.

River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze is a 2001 book by Peter Hessler. It documents his Peace Corps teaching assignment at Fuling Teachers College in Fuling, Sichuan, which started in 1996 and lasted for two years; Fuling is now part of Chongqing municipality. The book is a memoir of his experience in Fuling, told in first person.

I CAME TO FULING on the slow boat downstream from Chongqing. A car from the college drove us along the narrow streets that twisted up from the docks.

Peter Hessler, author of River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze, went to China not to check China is bafflingly massive. And that is a bonafide geographical fact people. You can get one of those old fashioned things called a map and have a look.

In 1996, 26-year-old Peter Hessler arrived in Fuling, a town on China's Yangtze River, to begin a two-year .

In 1996, 26-year-old Peter Hessler arrived in Fuling, a town on China's Yangtze River, to begin a two-year Peace Corps stint as a teacher at the local college. Along with fellow teacher Adam Meier, the two are the first foreigners to be in this part of the Sichuan province for 50 years. A young American who spent two years teaching English literature in a small town on the Yangtze, Hessler observed these events through two sets of eyes: his own and those of his alter ego, Ho Wei. Hessler sees China's politics and ceremony with the detachment of a foreigner, noting how grand political events affect the lives of ordinary people.

Peter Hessler's Official Web Page. River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze is a 2001 book by Peter Hessler

Peter Hessler's Official Web Page. River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze is a 2001 book by Peter Hessler. Peter Benjamin Hessler is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of four books about China and has contributed numerous articles to The New Yorker and National Geographic, among other publications. Expecting a calm couple of years, Hessler at first does not realize the social, cultural, and personal implications of being thrust into a such radically different society

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I ask only once a year: please help the Internet Archive today. We’re dedicated to reader privacy so we never track you. River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze is a 2001 book by Peter Hessler Contents. The book is a Chinese memoir of his experience in Fuling, told in first person.

In the heart of Chia's Sichuan province lies the small city of Fuling. Surrounded by the terraced hills of the Yangtze River valley, Fuling has long been a place of continuity, far from the bustling political centers of Beijing and Shanghai. But now Fuling is heading down a new path, and gradually, along with scores of other towns in this vast and ever-evolving country, it is becoming a place of change and vitality, tension and reform, disruption and growth. As the people of Fuling hold on to the China they know, they are also opening up and struggling to adapt to a world in which their fate is uncertain.

Fuling's position at the crossroads came into remarkably sharp focus when Peter Hessler arrived as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1996, marking the first time in more than half a century that the city had an American resident. He found himself teaching English and American literature at the local college, discovering how Shakespeare and other classics look when seen through the eyes of students who have been raised in the Sichuan countryside and educated in Communist Party doctrine. His students, though, are the ones 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.

As he learns the language and comes to know the people, Hessler begins to see that it is indeed a unique moment for Fuling. In its past is Communist China's troubled history -- the struggles of land reform, the decades of misguided economic policies, and the unthinkable damage of the Cultural Revolution -- and in the future is the Three Gorges Dam, which upon completion will partly flood the city and force the resettlement of more than a million people. Making his way in the city and traveling by boat and train throughout Sichuan province and beyond, Hessler offers vivid descriptions of the people he meets, from priests to prostitutes and peasants to professors, and gives voice to their views. This is both an intimate personal story of his life in Fuling and a colorful, beautifully written account of the surrounding landscape and its history. Imaginative, poignant, funny, and utterly compelling, River Town is an unforgettable portrait of a city that, much like China itself, is seeking to understand both what it was and what it someday will be.

Reviews about River Town: Two Years On The Yangtze (7):
Humane and observant. I was thoroughly impressed by the author's willingness to share his life with the ordinary Chinese, for I know it is difficult to do.
Exactly because of that, many of his poignant remarks and analyses did not bother me at all. In fact, I envy him, for I cannot observe in the same way as he did, simply because I am a Chinese. I know he is so right on the numbness of the people who could quickly gather into a crowd over any stanger's suffering, so right about the linguistic violence to women done by the Chinese language, and so right about the senseless macho baijiu culture among men. I could have made the remarks, too, but I know they would lack the same sad humaneness. I do not have his detachment and therefore his penetrativeness.
There was a haunting scene of Father Li's conversing in Latin with the author's own father, while the author was standing by and watching. Like the book itself, this scene shows that any barrier between peoples and men is either false or self-imposed or downright intellectual sloth. I really respect Peter Hessler!
I read this book in 2013 when preparing for our first trip to China on a land tour/river cruise/business visit to my husband's Chinese office. I am so glad I did. Peter Hessler offers a unique insight into Chinese culture, education, and the startling moments that westerners face when encountered by cultural differences. I also appreciated the fact that this book was written man years ago as it was interesting to see the changes that have come to China. No longer are bicycles as prevalent but there are cars EVERYWHERE! I continued with the following books in the series and they were all as good as the first. An excellent writer with the ability to highlight the differences without turning them into cultural stereotypes. Read if you are intrigued with China.
I am not aware of any other writer who has written anything even remotely as informative and interesting about the realities of daily living for Chinese citizens.
This particular book covers two years as a literature teacher at a small Chinese college. His students had previous instuction in English and understood it with varying degrees of comprehension. During his tour Hessler became fluent in Chinese and spent all of his tour with his students or getting to know the citizens in the adjacent town.
All of his students were from peasant families, making their interest in, and comments about, for example Shakespeare and American writers impressive. His comments and the comments by the citizenry re the mandates of the Communist Party are fascinating.
This book precedes another book he wrote later while living inBeijing and as a stringer for The Wall Street Journal
I have perhaps become a crashing bore in praising both books to the skies. Truly, these are books where you hate to come to the end.
This is not a documentary book of the usual kind. This is all about a Peace Corp volunteer's experience in China. As such I found it captivating and very revealing. There are accounts in this book that I found nowhere else. The intimacy that the author achieves through his contacts with the students that he teaches is profound. Because of this closeness to people and students there are insights that are uniquely Chinese as viewed through the eyes of a foreigner. It is captivating to read that most Chinese are detached from every day politics at the international level. One has the impression that most people are very proud of their heritage and their recent history. They value their national accomplishment in that it has provided them with the kind of economic hope they never conceived of before. I visited China twice and each time enjoyed it immensely. My sense of a long history and tradition was every where and was almost palpable. But I never felt that I understood the country. Reading this book has added a dimension that I never experienced during my visits to the country because it was not possible for a tourist to get as close to the people as the author did. So, reading the book was enormously enjoyable in that, and to some measure, it filled a gap that I was missing. For anyone who has visited China and who merely saw it "from a distance" I highly recommend this book. It will open vistas that were preciously closed. I also commend the author for the quality of the writing. Despite the artificial detachment that he had to nurture while there as a teacher, he managed to relate his thoughts and experiences in very touching tones at times. Whereas my view of the Chinese people were distant, his became real and existing in their own time and places. I envy Mr. Hessler. What an experience!! What pleasurable reading!

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