Promise of the Revolution: Stories of Fulfillment and Struggle in China's Hinterland / Edition 1

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The common Western image of China is confined to the large cities of the country's relatively wealthy east coast. But what does the country look like to most Chinese, those from the vast hinterland? The Promise of the Revolution reflects the day-to-day realities of the hundreds of millions of people in China's interior regions, fifty years after Communist takeover. A half-century ago, Mao Zedong proclaimed that 'the Chinese people have stood up.' Yet most of China's millions lay in abject poverty. What has become of the promises of the revolution? Has anything changed? Wright's years of observation and conversation at the grassroots level in Guizhou, western China's poorest province—from hiking high into mountain villages, to traveling with migrant laborers, to retracing the Long March trail, even to golfing with the province's most affluent—reveal a rich blend of human fulfillment, disappointment, and perseverance. This unusually perceptive and personal account, with its vivid immediacy, educates and entertains, but most important, it makes an original and invaluable contribution to our understanding of China's hidden majority.

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Editorial Reviews

David M. Lampton
From the foreword by:

Wright’s elegant study is a mixture of systematic data and intimate reportage. This terrific volume not only imparts knowledge, it also provides the reader great understanding of what Wright calls China’s 'search to find itself.'

Martin K. Whyte
The Promise of the Revolution offers a window into a corner of China we rarely see. Daniel Wright's vivid portraits of the poor Guizhou peasants and migrants whose lives he shared offer an unforgettable contrast to our usual picture of China based upon go-go Shanghai and other coastal areas.
Cheng Li
Wright has produced a masterly overview of what is arguably the most important issue in China today: growing regional economic disparity. Colorful and anecdotal, the book is the freshest and most accessible and well-balanced reportage available on interior China. While most scholars have focused on wealthy coastal regions like Shanghai and Beijing, this path-breaking work on poverty-stricken Guizhou Province is an invaluable addition to the field of China studies.
Joseph Fewsmith
A compelling narrative of life in interior China—a poor and backward part of China far from the lights and frenzy of the major cities. It is an account anyone interested in contemporary China should read.
The China Journal
This book is an enjoyable read. Wright clearly has a knack for getting people to talk, and his reports on what people in Guizhou tell him are compelling. It should be read by all those interested in life in the Chinese hinterlands, and considered for the classroom by teachers from a range of disciplines. Indeed, the anecdotal structure of the book, its introduction of basic terms and issues when analyzing Chinese society, history, economy and geography, and its clear style of writing make it ideal as a classroom text.
The China Business Review
Readers who want to know what life is like for ordinary Chinese outside of the big cities should delve into this slim, well-written, engaging, and eye-opening volume.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742519169
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/15/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel B. Wright, formerly executive director of the Hopkins-Nanjing Program, is an associate with the Virginia-based International Foundation.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 0 Foreword 1 Foreword Part 2 Part I. Prints of the Past: Local History Chapter 3 The Paradox of Perspective: Colorful Guizhou Chapter 4 A Walk into the Past: Hiking the Long March Part 5 Part II. Portraits of the Present: Interior China and the Coast Chapter 6 One in Fifty Million: On the Rails With China's Migrant Labor Chapter 7 "Hey Coolie!": Local Migrant Labor Chapter 9 Shared Prosperity? Chapter 10 Reason to Hope: The China Youth Development Foundation Chapter 11 Part III. Portraits of the Present: Rural Life in China's Interior Chapter 12 A Day in the Life of Shui Jianhua: Report from Splendid Village Chapter 13 Home-Cured Tobacco: A Tale of Three Generations in Big Nest Village Chapter 14 "They Call Me Brother": Report from Big Nest Village Chapter 15 Team Water Buffalo: Report from Big Nest Village Chapter 16 Leading on Poverty's Front Line: The Spirit of Daguan Village Chapter 17 Still a Song to Sing? Modernization versus Traditional National Minority Culture Chapter 18 Part IV. Portraits of the Present: Urban Issues in China's Interior Chapter 19 Coping with Reform in Guizhou's Industrial Rustbelt Chapter 20 Sprouts in a Hard Place: Principal Bi and the "P"- Word Chapter 21 "Field of Dreams": Tourism in Guizhou Province Chapter 22 Golfing in Guiyang: Playing with Guizhou's Affluent Part 23 Part V: Promises, Promises: China's Inadequate Revolution Chapter 24 Matters of the Heart … The Rebirth of Religion Chapter 25 The Revolution at Fifty Years

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