1104 N Providence Rd, Columbia, MO 65203, United States
Hickman High School which Peter Hessler graduated from.
Princeton, New Jersey 08544, United States
Princeton University where Peter Hessler received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1992.
Oxford OX1 2JD, United Kingdom
The University of Oxford where Peter Hessler received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1994.
Peter Hessler in China.
Peter Hessler with his wife and his daughters.
(In the heart of China's Sichuan province, amid the terrac...)
In the heart of China's Sichuan province, amid the terraced hills of the Yangtze River valley, lies the remote town of Fuling. Like many other small cities in this ever-evolving country, Fuling is heading down a new path of change and growth, which came into remarkably sharp focus when Peter Hessler arrived as a Peace Corps volunteer, marking the first time in more than half a century that the city had an American resident.
(In Oracle Bones, Peter Hessler explores the tension betwe...)
In Oracle Bones, Peter Hessler explores the tension between narrative and story, past and present, China and the West. Whereas his first book, River Town, focused on geography and sense of place, Oracle Bones is concerned with history and time. The book follows a small cast of characters through the years from 1999 to 2002, a period when China’s economy was growing rapidly and the country was engaging more deeply with the outside world.
(Through three distinct stories, Country Driving tracks th...)
Through three distinct stories, Country Driving tracks the rise of the automobile in Chinese life. The book consists of three stories: The Wall, The Village, The Factory.
(Full of unforgettable figures and an unrelenting spirit o...)
Full of unforgettable figures and an unrelenting spirit of adventure, Strange Stones is a far-ranging, thought-provoking collection of Peter Hessler’s best reportage - a dazzling display of the powerful storytelling, shrewd cultural insight, and warm sense of humor that are the trademarks of his work.
(Hessler creates an astonishing portrait of a country and ...)
Hessler creates an astonishing portrait of a country and its people. What emerges is a book of uncompromising intelligence and humanity - the story of a land in which a weak state has collapsed but its underlying society remains in many ways painfully the same.
Peter Hessler graduated from Hickman High School in 1988. Then he studied English and creative writing at Princeton University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1992. He won a Rhodes Scholarship to study English language and literature at the University of Oxford where he received in 1994 his second Bachelor of Arts degree.
The summer before graduating from Princeton, Hessler worked as a researcher for the Kellogg Foundation in southeastern Missouri. He wrote an extensive ethnography about a small town called Sikeston, which was published in the Journal for Applied Anthropology.
In 1996, Peter Hessler joined the Peace Corps as a volunteer English teacher. For two years, he had lived in Fuling, a small city affected by the Three Gorges Dam. He wrote about it in his first book, River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze. This book was followed by two others about China: Oracle Bones and Country Driving. Together they comprise Hessler’s “China trilogy,” covering the decade in which he lived in the country, from 1996 until 2007.
Hessler then moved to Beijing, where he became the China correspondent for The New Yorker and a contributing writer to National Geographic in 2000. He had lived in China for 11 years, completing a trilogy that also includes Oracle Bones and Country Driving.
In 2007 he settled in Ridgway, Colorado and has continued to publish articles in The New Yorker on topics including the Peace Corps in Nepal and small towns in Colorado. In 2011, Hessler moved to Cairo, where for five years he had covered the events of the Egyptian Arab Spring.
One of his last books is entitled The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution.
(Full of unforgettable figures and an unrelenting spirit o...)2013
(In the heart of China's Sichuan province, amid the terrac...)2001
(In Oracle Bones, Peter Hessler explores the tension betwe...)2006
(Through three distinct stories, Country Driving tracks th...)2010
(Hessler creates an astonishing portrait of a country and ...)2019
One of his main feelings about writing is that, over time, there’s a risk of complacency and comfort. If he gets too comfortable or if the surroundings become too familiar, then he won’t be as observant. He feels like this is part of the commitment to being a nonfiction writer: he has to remain close to his subject matter, but willing to change his environment. He would like to think that the experience of moving frequently has also helped him sympathize with other points of view. People view the world very differently in China and Egypt and Colorado. His goal isn’t to choose the worldview that is correct. He's just trying to describe each one accurately.
“The American appetite for loneliness impressed me, and there was something about this solitude that freed conversation. One night at a bar, I met a man, and within five minutes he explained that he had just been released from prison. Another drinker told me that his wife had passed away, and he had recently suffered a heart attack, and now he hoped that he would die within the year. I learned that there's no reliable small talk in America; at any moment a conversation can become personal.”
“I realized that as a thinking person his advantage lay precisely in his lack of formal education. Nobody told him what to think, and thus he was free to think clearly.”
“People with good memories are liable to be crushed by the weight of their suffering. Only those with bad memories, the fittest to survive, can live on.”
“In China, much of life involves skirting regulations, and one of the basic truths is that forgiveness comes easier than permission.”
Hessler is married to Leslie T. Chang. They are the parents of twin daughters Ariel and Natasha born in 2010. In October of 2011, when the girls were a year and a half old, the family moved to Cairo.