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Online Extra
JUNE 2006

Peter Hessler in China

   Photograph by Mark Leong, Redux

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In the past decade Peter Hessler emerged as one of the preeminent Western writers living in China. Originally from Missouri, he started out in China as a Peace Corps volunteer at Fuling Teachers College. The experience led to lasting friendships and the publication of his first book, River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze (HarperCollins, 2001). Hessler's deep immersion in the culture is evident in his new book, Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China's Past and Present, published last month, also by HarperCollins. In 1992, Todd Carrel, then the ABC News bureau chief in China, was severely beaten by police while covering a protest in Tiananmen Square, an attack that left him permanently disabled. He now teaches Digital TV and the World, a journalism course at the University of California, Berkeley. On a recent trip to Beijing, he interviewed Hessler about what it means for millions of young people to uproot themselves from their rural villages in the hope of fulfilling their dreams in China's booming cities.