Kerry Brown, Asian Affairs
"Brown utilizes the whole range of the contemporary historian's tool kit. Focusing on Tianjin and the surrounding countryside, he rigorously uses newly opened local archives, memoirs, official sources and interviews. Brown has an eye for small, sometimes tragicomic details which make his work highly readable. He paints a realistic picture of rural areas as Maoist China's Siberia, a dumping-ground for urban undesirables and a colony for urban exploitation, but his analysis goes further than this."
Lauri Paltemaa, The China Journal
"… in eight chapters [Brown] tells a great story of dynamic negotiations over the urban-rural divide that have constantly taken place between the city of Tianjin and its surrounding rural communities. Fundamental to the occurrence of these negotiations was, as Brown has documented in detail using archival sources, local publications, personal diaries and interviews, a variety of persistent resistances from the villages to Maoist policy programmes which were forced upon them by the city leadership in favour of the urban centre."
Yixin Chen, The China Quarterly