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Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China | [Peter Hessler]

Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China

A century ago, outsiders saw China as a place where nothing ever changes. Today, the country has become one of the most dynamic regions on earth. In Oracle Bones, Peter Hessler explores the human side of China's transformation, viewing modern-day China and its growing links to the Western world through the lives of a handful of ordinary people.
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Publisher's Summary

A century ago, outsiders saw China as a place where nothing ever changes. Today, the country has become one of the most dynamic regions on earth. In Oracle Bones, Peter Hessler explores the human side of China's transformation, viewing modern-day China and its growing links to the Western world through the lives of a handful of ordinary people. In a narrative that gracefully moves between the ancient and the present, the East and the West, Hessler captures the soul of a country that is undergoing a momentous change before our eyes.

©2007 Peter Hessler (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“A brilliant observer with a novelist’s ear for character and dialogue, Hessler is both fascinating and funny.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“A remarkable travelogue documenting aspects of a country still little understood.” (Kirkus)

“Engaging.... Acutely observed, moving, frequently funny and a perspicacious X-ray of China’s zeitgeist.” (South China Morning Post)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (143 )
5 star
 (71)
4 star
 (42)
3 star
 (23)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (6)
Overall
4.2 (87 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (85 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    M. JEANG Pasadena, Tx United States 03-07-12
    M. JEANG Pasadena, Tx United States 03-07-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unenlightened"
    Would you try another book from Peter Hessler and/or Peter Berkrot?

    No.


    What could Peter Hessler have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Teach Chinese instead of teaching English.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Insufferable condescending tone when referring to the Chinese or China and absolutely incomprehensible pronunciation of the Chinese words


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Oracle Bones?

    First Chapter -- the only chapter I read.


    Any additional comments?


    I have read hundreds of books about China. In general, those written by Chinese are the best. Those written by Western academics are acceptable but are still often unenlightened and carry the baggage of Western bias. Those written by Western journalists are several rungs below the academics. These writers are usually poorly educated (a la Sarah Palin) and have very little interesting to say. Those written by American teaching English in China are generally unreadable like this book. They are usually written to make a buck and leave the reader less educated than when they began. I think the reason for the last may be that the Chinese students' traditional respect for teachers, good or bad, may have swelled these English teachers heads.

    I had just finish listening, on my daily run, Ji Chauzhu's excellent autobiography as the English translator for Mao; and had to suffer through the first Chapter of this book. Instead of doubling the distance of my run every day, I had to cut short of my run today to write this review. I don't think I have the stomach to continue listening. Peter Hessler’s first chapter betrayed a deep disrespect for the Chinese people and for China. The narrator’s condescending tone and lack of effort to pronounce the Chinese words accurately makes the problem worse. When Peter Hessler started sneering at the Nanjing Holocaust and the Nanjing Holocaust Museum, I decided one chapter was enough. If the Jews in American weren’t so vocal, I think Peter Hessler would have sneered at the Jewish Holocaust as well.

    4 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jeff newton, ma, United States 04-26-12
    jeff newton, ma, United States 04-26-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awful narration makes this a waste of time"
    What would have made Oracle Bones better?

    Narrator used an Irish accent to simulate a Chinese speaker, made this unbearable. I tried listening to more but it made me sick.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The narrator's fake accent.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Truly a bad accent...why have one at all?


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    content may have had some accuracy, but, I couldn't listen to it anymore.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steaven Chan Torrance, CA United States 05-11-10
    Steaven Chan Torrance, CA United States 05-11-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    93
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "Biased"

    The author only look at one side of facts and dismiss all others. A very narrow view of the true civilization of the Chinese historical development and purport that none of the artifacts proved anything but the western biased perspective.

    3 of 19 people found this review helpful
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