Video: Peter Hessler on China’s Past and Present

While it’s not new (but new to me), here is an interesting talk on C-SPAN by Peter Hessler, best known as the author of River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze and Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China. Hessler does a great job of reminding us (even several years since this talk) that despite its massive amount of change, when you get outside of the first and second tier cities, China is still a whole different world.

Particularly interesting for people new to China or looking for some even-handed information on China is the Q&A period mid-way through the talk. If you don’t have much time (the whole video is nearly an hour), I suggest jumping over to the source page and checking out the chapter breakdown to cherry pick some of the more interesting questions.

The Summary from

Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China’s Past and Present featuring Peter Hessler

Hessler discusses his book Oracle Bones, which compares modern day China to its past. The title is derived from an archaeological site in China where the earliest form of writing was found inscribed on shells and bones. During this discussion, Mr. Hessler reads letters from young Chinese students who migrated from the countryside to the rapidly growing cities.

Peter Hessler is Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker. He also writes for National Geographic. His earlier book on being a Peace Corps volunteer in China is called “River Town.”

H/T to and Adam Daniel Mezei.