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Other Rivers

Original price $32.00 - Original price $32.00
Original price
$32.00 - $32.00
Current price $32.00

A Chinese Education

An intimate and revelatory eyewitness account of two generations of students in China's heartland, chronicling a country in the midst of tumultuous change through the prism of its education system

More than twenty years after teaching English to China's first boom generation at a small college in Sichuan Province, Peter Hessler returned to Sichuan to teach the next generation. At the same time, Hessler and his wife enrolled their twin daughters in a local state-run elementary school, where they were the only Westerners in a student body of about two thousand. Over the years, Hessler had kept in close contact with more than a hundred of his former students, who were now in their forties. By reconnecting with these individuals - members of China's "Reform generation" - while teaching current undergrads, Hessler was able to gain a unique perspective on China's incredible transformation over the past quarter-century.

In the late 1990s, almost all of Hessler's students were the first member of their extended families to become educated. Their parents were subsistence farmers who could offer little guidance as their children entered a brand-new world. By 2019, when Hessler arrived at Sichuan University, he found a very different China and a new kind of student - an only child whose schooling was the object of intense focus from a much more ambitious and sophisticated cohort of parents. Hessler's new students have a sense of irony about the regime but mostly navigate its restrictions with equanimity, and embrace the astonishing new opportunities China's boom affords. But the pressures of this system of extreme "meritocracy" at scale can be gruesome, even for much younger children, including his own daughters, who give him and his wife an intimate view into the experience at their local school.

In Peter Hessler's hands, China's education system is the perfect vehicle for examining what's happened to the country, where it's going, and what we can learn from it, for good and ill. At a time when anti-Chinese rhetoric in America has grown blunter and uglier, Other Rivers is a tremendous, indeed an essential gift, a work of enormous human empathy that rejects cheap stereotypes and shows us China from the inside out and the bottom up, using as a measuring stick this most universally relatable set of experiences. As both a window onto China and a distant mirror onto America and its own education system, Other Rivers is a classic, a book of tremendous value and compelling human interest.

Condition: New

ISBN-13: 9780593655337

ISBN-10: 0593655338

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