Two Kinds of Time

Graham Peck
Introduction by Robert Kapp

  • $30.00s paperback (9780295988528) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 2008
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China; Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir
  • Bibliographic information: 734 pp., 5 x 8 in.
  • Contents

Graham Peck (1914-1968) made his first trip to China in 1935 and served with the U.S. Office of War Information in China throughout the 1940s. His memoir, Two Kinds of Time, first published in 1950, is witty and eloquent in both its words and the drawings with which it is lovingly illustrated. Long out of print in its unabridged version, this engagingly written eye-witness narrative of China on the eve of revolution remains an important source of historical and political information. Robert A. Kapp's new Introduction analyzes the book's original contribution and highlights its relevance to issues in the twenty-first century world.

"'Best book most readers are likely to have missed': Two Kinds of Time, by Graham Peck, a marvelous words - and - drawings chronicle of travels through China in the decade leading up to the Communist revolution in 1949."
-The Atlantic, The Atlantic

"Two Kinds of Time, a brilliantly written (and illustrated, with the author's drawings) saga of travels through pre-communist China, puts into perspective how much has changed in China, and how much has not."
-Foreign Affairs, Foreign Affairs

"Congratulations to Robert A. Kapp and to the publishers on bringing this remarkable work in its original form to a new twenty-first century readership."
-Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

"It gives me great joy to celebrate the reappearance of the best book on China that I have ever read, Graham Peck's Two Kinds of Time, nearly six decades after its original publication. This book is at once hilarious and horrifying, heart-warming and heart-breaking, educational and entertaining."
-From the Introduction

"What is missing in the most recent assessments of China's tectonic changes over the past half century is a baseline against which to measure the grand scale of its development. Two Kinds of Time by Graham Peck, written in lucid, descriptive prose by someone who has based his reportage on 'being there,' provides just such a baseline. In the most vivid way, Peck takes us back to Chiang Kai-shek's China during WWII, and by doing so, reminds us of the amazingly transformative odyssey this so-called 'sick man of Asia's' has been on since."
-Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director, The Center on US-China Relations, Asia Society

"This unique and fascinating book tells how Graham Peck looked into the hearts of the Chinese of his day, from peasant to coolie to clerk, and understood what he saw as few Americans ever have. Today, rising China is immersed in a new kind of revolution. Understanding China is critical for our future - this book is a unique treasure - house of background for that understanding."
-Sidney Rittenberg, longtime resident in the People's Republic of China, now professor of China Studies at Pacific Lutheran University

Introduction to the 2008 Edition by Robert A. Kapp

Part I: The Problem Proposed
1. Double Exposure
2. Uneasy Weather
3. The Threatening Sky
4. Around and Around
5. That Secret Smile
6. Some Compartments

Part II: The Edge of the Shadow
7. Road to the North
8. Good Intentions
9. The Sealed Cave
10. A City Falling Apart
11. Aftermath
12. Town and Country
13. Ebb-Tide

Part III: Americans and the Old Problem
14. Different Dreams in the Same Bed
15. The Sounding Board
16. Who Does What to Whom, and Who Pays?
17. The Pillar of Weakness

Part IV: An Experiment with Air
18. Bird's Eye
19. People in Trees
20. "Truth is Our Weapon"
21. The Enormous Day
22. Fields for the Harvest

Part V: The Time for Decision
23. An Incident
24. Some People
25. The Mechanized Dragon
26. Don't Ever Look Behind You

Part VI: The Period of Results
27. A Disaster
28. Out of the Frying Pan

"Of the many people who came to China in the 20th century and wrote about it, Peck remains one of the most fluid and sensitive. . . . [The book] gives a fabulous picture of this moment when America, and the West more generally, and China try to come to an understanding and singularly fail, and unfortunately set the path, for the best part of a quarter of a century, for isolation from each other before things change again in the 1960s and 1970s."
-Rana Mitter, The Browser, December 2011

"Riveting and hilarious accounts of travels through WW II-era China by an American diplomat (and litterateur and artist), fascinating in their own right and all the more rewarding because of their resonance with the superficially different China of 60+ years later."
-James Fallows, The Atlantic Monthly

"Two Kinds of Time is an extensive chronicle, a highly recommended snapshot of this period."
-Midwest Book Review

"This handsomely produced reissue gives us a chance to revisit Graham Peck's slyly rollicking, incisive, and influential underground classic of reporting on wartime China."
-The Chinese Historical Review