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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2014
This is an outstanding book on an extremely important topic, and deserves to take its place alongside such excellent works as Leslie T. Chang's 'Factory Girls'. The use of individuals' personal stories to illustrate the (thoroughly researched) data makes for a compelling (if, at times, shocking) read, and the book offers a concise but comprehensive introduction to the challenges faced by women in contemporary China.
Regarding some of the reviews below: I don't think the book ever makes the claim that pressure to marry younger is *solely* the result of a government campaign, but the fact that there has been a top-down campaign (focused specifically around the stigmatising use of the phrase 'leftover women') is, I think, undeniable. Scepticism towards official propaganda doesn't make you immune to its effects, especially when it has become so pervasive you're no longer aware where it originates. Specific comparisons with other countries in East Asia are made within the book (on the basis of actual data) and very different patterns are identified.
I would also dispute the point that the book goes 'off-topic': all the chapters are very clearly related to the central ideas: either in terms of understanding the reasons for the current situation (like the historical context and the details of the way property ownership works in China) or its wider consequences (like the sections on domestic violence and homosexuality).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2014
I thought, prior to my purchase of this great book, that perhaps I'd already read the majority of it across the various China-linked media I plough my way through each month; I needn't have worried. There's more than enough content here to retain and further inform those familiar with the author's theses. Well-informed and well-researched, the clarity of her text builds a convincing argument and, thankfully, exposes the state's campaign against 'leftover women' for what it is. We should all hope a Chinese translation will soon be available on the mainland.
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