Customer Reviews for

River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze

Average Rating 4.5
( 27 )
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5 Star

(17)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2005

    Warm, insightful, personal and engaging

    My son who lives as a foreigner in China directed me to read the book, and I found it wonderful. . Not only does it provide a dynamic insight into the country's present thinking (through Hessler's students' essays), but it allows us to watch his efforts to move gently and gracefully through his local society, with varying success. . Not only is the book enlightening, but it's wonderfully entertaining, as we share the bittersweet adventure of joining a culture that's so hard to decode. I read the book before a trip to Beijing, and thought about it every day.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2002

    Excellent

    The book is excellent. Hessler's very eloquent, descriptive, humorous and poetic at times. I've highlighted almost every passage because his observations are impecable, very poignant, honest, and very funny. Hessler's quite a character. I'm actually going to give my family a copy of it because we travel so much and we spend our time trying to understand and fit in with other cultures. And this one time I wanted to know how others try to understand ours. I feel very lucky to have stumbled upon Hessler's River Town. Can't praise it enough.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2002

    Terrific Portrait of Interior China

    I picked up this book 3 days ago and was soon completely absorbed in reading it. It was fascinating to see China through Hessler's observations. His wrote his experience as an American teacher in Fuling with great humor and prose, backed by sharp oberservations and intellectual vigor. This is a must read for anyone with an interest in China!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2005

    RIVER TOWN READS WITH A POWER AND A GRACE

    Peter Hesslers book, RIVER TOWN, gives the reader an outstanding look at contemporary China. As he does so, he teaches the reader a few Chinese words here and there. This kind of person, Hessler, is exactly who John F. Kennedy had in mind when he created the Peace Corps.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2003

    Hessler knows China

    While this book is excellent for people unfamiliar with China, it is also highly recommended for those with a more in depth knowledge. I myself have spent time in Taiwan and China and was often struck by how accurate Hessler's observations were. The section on Chinese photo albums and the rather bizarre photo culture there was hilarious, as was the section on the English names Chinese people take. I also identified with Hessler's alternate personality, his self in Chinese, Ho Wei. Anyone who studies Chinese has this other personality...kind of dumb, illiterate, and not at all erudite or funny. This book will make you laugh out loud, but it also has a serious side, discussing issues such as the sky-high rates of suicide among women in China, the educational atmosphere in a system tightly controlled by the CCP, and the death of Deng Xiaoping.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2002

    Great book to understand China--even for a Chinese

    It's a great book for people who want to understand the Chinese culture. I feel enlightened reading the book. I know my own culture better through a foreigner's eyes. Peter Hessler caught those moments a native Chinese will never pay attention to. I truly enjoy his sense of humor and good writing. I hope he can find more interesting things to write about during his stay in China.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2001

    One great read on many fronts.

    Very accessible in his writing, he brings the true experience of a young American in modern China. Hessler deftly brings up important points in China's history so as to help us understand what helps to shape the modern Chinese attitude towards foreigners of different nationalities, relations among fellow man, and their own relationships with themselves and their country. <P>Through this narrative based in part on his journal writings, we get a voyeuristic view as the book develops, riding along with Hessler's metamorphosis in character as he develops Ho Wei, his Chinese self. Hessler keeps the reader on thier toes through contrasting American and British attitudes and behaviors with those of the Chinese. He has evidently learned both yin and yang and lays both out fairly for the reader to decide on each subject he treats this way. <P>A great read that brings a wealth of knowledge of modern China and more than a couple of laughs along the way.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2001

    Spectacular Journey Thru the Interior of China

    This book was an incredible eye-opener about Chinese culture. A sprinkling of wit binds together a string of vignettes which lay bare the society of this remote, interior, Chinese city. Hessler's personality rings through the pages as he draws you into his world and his experiences. This is a must read for anyone who wants to travel in Asia or who wishes to understand the role that China will have in the coming century. Simply a fabulous book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2014

    This exceptionally written book is a must read! Peter captures,

    This exceptionally written book is a must read! Peter captures, in a very sensitive way, the life of a Peace Corp English teacher in China. He shares the difficulties, and the wonders, of his experience, and places his own time living within the context of China's ancient history, and now rapid changes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2013

    The Chinese are like us!

    A skilled writer, at times waxing poetic, with a graceful style, yet realistic in his portrayal both of his own reactions and of the Chinese. A few times Hessler could have benefitted from an editor's wisdom, shortening some of his descriptive narrative of interactions and personalities encountered. But that's a minor quibble, since I was eager to continue reading and eventually completed the book. I'd certainly recommend this bok anyone interested in contemporary China. I learned, for instance, that Chinese, even in a fairly rigid political and cultural climate, are quite as capable of self reflection and critique, independent thinking, and creative entrepreneurship as anyone else is.

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  • Posted April 22, 2013

    Highly recommended for anyone thinking about the Peace Corps

    Very well written story about a young man's experience teaching at a Chinese Teachers College in a very remote area. His characters are alive and well developed. Author highlights the positive and negative personality traits of himself, his fellow Americans and the Chinese people he encounters. I did not want the story to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    I can usually make it through just about any book but I had to a

    I can usually make it through just about any book but I had to abandon this one. It was interesting up to a point to learn about the Chinese culture and that geographic region and some of the Chinese history. But I kept waiting for a story that never came. I gave up at page 127. Nice writing but just couldn't grab my interest for the long haul.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    highly recommended

    This book is fun to read. I had very little understanding of anything about China or the Peace Corps and this book takes you inside the life of a small College but also brings the perspective of a foreigner in a rural river town. It is well written and hard to put down.I am so glad that I read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    Lupa to Faolan

    FAOLAN!she ran to him~Lupa LUPA! he ran to her~Faolan are you going to start your own pack~Lupa yes~Faolan i must go im sorry see ya later she rans away~Lupa

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Off the beaten path

    River Town provides an enlightening account of what it is like to live & work in rural China. I wish the individual who lived in Chongqing & wrote a previous review had been more specific in their criticism, as it appears to me that Hessler tried his best to meet & honestly assess the lives & feelings of the people in this remote area.
    I also found it interesting to hear what cautionary training the Peace Corp provided for someone to work in a Communist country & how the volunteers were able to cope with multiple issues & problems.
    Hessler writes with clarity & a touch of humor which makes the history lesson included more fun. I look forward to reading his two sequels, Oracle Bones & Country Driving.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2009

    Great Book

    I found this book to be interesting and enlightening. It is well written and goes fast

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2003

    Amateurish and Immature

    Hessler appears to have set foot in Fulin with a preconceived notion of superiority that never left him. What remains clear throughout his book is that he constantly treated the Chinese as subjects of his anectodes. It's as if he was composing his book as he experienced it. I think it left Hessler feeling removed from the Chinese. River Town never gets around this feeling. There are much better books on China out there. I recommend Da Chen's memoirs.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2001

    Disappointed

    I rushed to the bookstore as soon as I found out about this book. But I am sorry to say I feel disappointed. <br>There is no doubt about the writing skill of the author. He vividly portrayed a rural Chinese city, Fuling. <br>But having been living in Chongqing, a city not far from Fuling, for over four years, I found this book misleading and in lack of in depth understanding of the local culture and local people. I hope the author of this book will spend longer time to get a better knowledge before he rush to publish his next book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
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