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1. 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. 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.
2. Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China and the West by Peter Hessler (22-Feb-2007) Paperback
3. The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution
DescriptionFrom the acclaimed author of River Town and Oracle Bones, an intimate excavation of life in one of the world's oldest civilizations at a time of convulsive change
Drawn by a fascination with Egypt's rich history and culture, Peter Hessler moved with his wife and twin daughters to Cairo in 2011. He wanted to learn Arabic, explore Cairo's neighborhoods, and visit the legendary archaeological digs of Upper Egypt. After his years of covering China for The New Yorker, friends warned him Egypt would be a much quieter place. But not long before he arrived, the Egyptian Arab Spring had begun, and now the country was in chaos.
In the midst of the revolution, Hessler often traveled to digs at Amarna and Abydos, where locals live beside the tombs of kings and courtiers, a landscape that they call simply al-Madfuna: "the Buried." He and his wife set out to master Arabic, striking up a friendship with their instructor, a cynical political sophisticate. They also befriended Peter's translator, a gay man struggling to find happiness in Egypt's homophobic culture. A different kind of friendship was formed with the neighborhood garbage collector, an illiterate but highly perceptive man named Sayyid, whose access to the trash of Cairo would be its own kind of archaeological excavation. Hessler also met a family of Chinese small-business owners in the lingerie trade; their view of the country proved a bracing counterpoint to the West's conventional wisdom.
Through the lives of these and other ordinary people in a time of tragedy and heartache, and through connections between contemporary Egypt and its ancient past, 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. A worthy successor to works like Rebecca West's Black Lamb and Grey Falcon and Bruce Chatwin's The Songlines, The Buried bids fair to be recognized as one of the great books of our time.
4. A Little Primer of Chinese Oracle-Bone Inscriptions with Some Exercises
DescriptionThis Little Primer introduces students of classical Chinese to the earliest extant body of Chinese texts dating from about the 13th to the 10th centuries BC. These texts are known as Oracle-Bone Inscriptions and relate to any matter that was deemed sufficiently important to require consultation with the ancestors and deities of the Shang aristocracy.
Indispensable to the study of the history of Chinese religion, politics, agriculture, the calendar system, hunting, warfare, medicine, sacrificial and ritual practices, and other matters of life in China's first historical dynasty, these more than 130,000 pieces of inscribed turtle plastrons and bovine scapulas, though mostly fragmented ones, comprise more text in terms of number of characters than the combined transmitted traditional pre-Qn classical Chinese texts.
The material will be presented in three forms: normalized transcriptions of the texts into modern standard Chinese script, translations into English, and ink-squeezes or rubbings of the original texts. There is also a detailed linguistic and philological explanation of the text, plus an annotation, and commentary on the cultural and historical background of the material. No special background in analyzing grammar and syntax will be required to understand most, if not all, of the materials presented in this Little Primer.
5. The Buried: Life, Death and Revolution in Egypt
'Tenacious, revelatory, and humane.' - Paul Theroux
'The Buried is the kind of book that you don't want to end and won't forget. With the eye of a great storyteller Peter Hessler weaves together history, reporting, memoir, and above all the lives of ordinary people in a beautiful and haunting portrait of Egypt and its Revolution.' - Ben Rhodes
In 2011, the world's eyes were on Egypt, as revolution swept across the country. But what lay below the surface of events was harder to see. Living in Cairo, over the following years award-winning writer Peter Hessler set out to uncover the everyday lives and archaeological secrets of a country in turmoil.
From the protests in Tahrir square, to Egypt's first democratic elections, and on to the massacres, the coup and its aftermath, The Buried follows the ongoing events of the Arab Spring while also exploring the social forces and historical context behind it. At its heart lies human stories: iconoclastic Pharaoh Akhenaten, rubbish collector Sayyid, Arabic teacher Rifaat, Chinese lingerie salesmen and resourceful archaeologists. Together, they raise the question: is revolution just repetition, or can things really change?
Through extraordinary first-hand reporting and deep research, Hessler brings to light the relationship between the ancient past and the contemporary condition, the political and the personal, to create an unforgettable work of literary and documentary brilliance.
6. Oracle Bones
7. The Water Kingdom
DescriptionSelected as a Book of the Year by The Times and The Economist
China's history is an epic tapestry of courtly philosophies, warring factions and imperial intrigue. Yet, over five thousand years, one ancient element has so dramatically shaped the country's fate that it remains the key to unlocking China's story. That element is water.
In The Water Kingdom Philip Ball takes us on a grand tour of China's defining element, from the rice terraces and towering karts of its battle-worn waterways, to the vast engineering projects that have struggled to contain water's wrath. What surfaces is the secret history of a people and a nation, drawn from its deep reverence for nature's most dynamic force.