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Factory Girls: Voices from the Heart of Modern China by [Chang, Leslie T.]
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Factory Girls: Voices from the Heart of Modern China Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Review

"Engrossing. . . an exceptionally vivid and compassionate depiction of the day-to-day dramas, and the fears and aspirations, of the real people who are powering China's economic boom."-"The New York Times Book Review""Chang delves deeply into the world of migrant workers to find out who these people are and what their collective dislocation means for China. Chang skillfully sketches migrants as individuals with their own small victories and bitter tragedies, and she captures the surprising dynamics of this enormous but ill-understood subculture."-"The Washington Post" "Chang's deeply affecting book tells the story of the invisible foot soldiers who made China's stirring rise possible."-"The New York Times""This is an irresistible book."-"People ""Excellent."-"Chicago Tribune""Fascinating. . . Chang powerfully conveys the individual reality behind China's 130 million migrant workers, the largest migration in human history."-"The Boston Globe ""Chang reveals a world staggering in its dimensions, unprecedented in its topsy-turvy effects on China's conservative culture, and frenetic in its pace. . . Chang deftly weaves her own family's story of migrations within China, and finally to the West, into her fascinating portrait. . . "Factory Girls" is a keen-eyed look at contemporary Chinese life composed of equal parts of new global realties, timeless stories of human striving, and intelligent storytelling at its best."-"San Francisco Chronicle" "Both entertaining and poignant. . . Chang's fine prose and her keen sense of detail more than compensate for the occasional digression, and her book is an intimate portrait of a strangeand hidden landscape."-"The New Yorker ""A compelling, atmospheric look at seldom-seen China."-"BusinessWeek " "Chang, a journalist at the "Wall Street Journal," spent two years reporting in the gritty southern boomtown of Dongguan trying to put human faces on these workers, and the ones she finds are extraordinary. They are, more than anything else, the face of modern China: a country increasingly turning away from its rural roots and turbulent past and embracing a promising but uncertain future. . . The painstaking work Chang put into befriending these girls and drawing out their stories is evident, as is the genuine affection she has for them and their spirit."-"Time" "In her impressive new book, "Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China," former "Wall Street Journal" reporter Leslie T. Chang explores this boom that's simultaneously emptying China's villages of young people and fueling its economic growth. . . To be sure, this mass migration is a big and well-told story. But Chang brings to it a personal touch: her own forebears were migrants, and she skillfully weaves through the narrative tales of their border crossings. She also succeeds in grounding the trend in wider social context, suggesting that the aspirations of these factory girls signal a growing individualism in China's socialist culture."-"Newsweek" "Elegant. . . Chang is less interested in expose than in getting to know the young women of Dongguan's assembly lines. "Factory Girls" reveals the workplace through the workers' eyes."-"Financial Times ""A real coup. . . Chang, a former Beijing correspondent for "The Wall Street Journal," does more than describeharsh factory conditions. She writes about the way the workers themselves see migration, bringing us views that are rarely heard. "Factory Girls" is highly readable and even amusing in many places, despite the seriousness of the subject. In the pages of this book, these factory girls come to life."-"Christian Science Monitor" "Amazing. . . a fascinating ethnography of the young women who labor in the factories of Guangdong, China's richest province, a land of boomtowns where wealth and scams and exploitation and warmth and courage all abound. . . I must have read fifty books about China this year, but this stands out as one of the best."-Boingboing.net "A gifted storyteller, Chang crafts a work of universal relevance."-"Publishers Weekly" (starred review) "In-depth reporting [that] contributes significantly to our knowledge about China's development."-"Kirkus Reviews" "Rising head and shoulders above almost all other new books about China, this unflinching and yearningly compassionate portrait of the lives and loves of ordinary Chinese workers is quite unforgettable: it presents the first long, hard look we have ever taken at the people who are due to become, before very much longer, the new masters of the world."-Simon Winchester, author of "The Man Who Loved China""Often people ask me, 'What's it like for women in China today?' From now on I'll recommend Leslie Chang's "Factory Girls," which is brilliant, thoughtful, and insightful. This book is also for anyone who's ever wondered how their sneakers, Christmas ornaments, toys, designer clothes, or computers are made. The stories of these factory girls are not only mesmerizing, tragic, andinspiring -- true examples of persistence, endurance, and loneliness -- but Chang has also woven in her own family's history, shuttling north and south through China to examine this complicated country's past, present, and future."-Lisa See, author of "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan " "From the Hardcover edition."

Book Description

'Head and shoulders above almost all other new books about China' Simon Winchester

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1434 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprints edition (1 Jan. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003E2UQLE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #82,287 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book on a bit of a whim to have something to read while on a holiday visiting family. I will admit that beforehand I knew almost nothing about contemporary China, and also didn't really have any interesting. I can't stress enough how engrossing this book is - beyond any educational level it is extremely well written. I had to ration how many pages I read a day to make the book last the duration of the trip - could not get enough. The people and situations are fascinating, and it really feels like you're getting to glimpse into a world you otherwise wouldn't. I can't recommend this book highly enough, it sparked for me a major interest in China, and it has done the same for everyone I have told to read this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wanted to love this book because the subject fascinates me, as China moves onwards and upwards, however this book is predominantly a jumble of the issues raised and does not follow a more linear style, which would have been useful. For one thing the author detracts from the stories by speaking at length about her own family roots, and whilst her roots are broadly related to the theme of the book - it is quite tangential to the central theme of the consequences (positive and negative) of China's employment migration patterns. Not to take anything away from the author, but the self-referential style tries to staple one story onto another - and her own family's struggles (which are quite unique and worthy of an exploration) would have better suited another book.

The organisation of the book is also poor, in the sense that the author presumably tries to replicate the fragmentary lifestyle of the migrants by following a saccharin perambulating format, drifting into lives and drifting out again.

Further to this, which is presumably a journalistic trait, the author repeats central messages multiple times through the book - so any form of subtlety is absent. It is quite painful at times, as the same sentences are repeated, in the same italicised font at multiple places. This sledgehammer approach to being didactic is especially patronising.

However, I did finish the book and it was a worthy read overall.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book for many reasons, firstly for my first hand experience of much of the facts and details in the book. everything seems to change in China and yet nothing changes. After 27 years of work with the Chinese I thought I knew it all, Chang's well written book proved me wrong, because much in the past has gone 'over my head' and not realised. I like the Chinese and have great friends there, however I can never understand some of the devious ways of conducting there lives. I fail to understand how they can hurt each other purely for social or financial gain, I know this happens worldwide, but it seems to be accepted as the norm in China. Many are good people, certainly hard working and with immense ingenuity. I give two examples of my experience: I once felt sorry for a farmer in a village near Longyan Fujian, he was a good man but unfortunate with his health. I gave him $200 to buy a few pigs. Another villager stabbed and poisoned his pigs out of Jealousy. A factory worker who I thought was sound had a blind mother. She used to shuffle up at lunchtime with some food or washing for him, she only had 'cataracts of her eyes which was Easily cured with an inexpensive operation. I gave him a small advance of pay and a small gift of 500 yuan for her to have it done. She didn't have it done because he blew the money on himself! These sort of things upset me but my Chinese friends just nodded their heads and changed the subject, ( but to really understand Chinese thinking then read the book 'Mr China' by Tim Clissold)
Factory girls is a well researched and very readable book. recommended.
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Format: Paperback
This book gives and insight into the world of the young women who work in China's many factories. At times you think that the author is trying to tell us how badly treated the girls are. And to an educated, Chinese/American journalist, such as the author, their lives are probably not great. However, while this is a complex story, the excitement of these young women's lives is very apparent. Compared with the lives they would face "back home" or indeed the lives faced by factory workers when we (the UK) were undergoing the industrial revolution, things don't seem too bad. The girls enjoy a certain level of ecomonic freedom (though my our standards, certainly circumscribed) and there is no mention of physical danger or coercion, which is more than you can say for many countries. But judge for yourselves - a book well worth reading to see a story behind the headlines and statistics.
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I found this book whilst searching on amazon for biographies and it sounded fascinating. When it arrived it was over 400 pages of tiny writing and I thought that this would be a bit of a challenge.
From the start, the story of modern China is personified in the various characters that the author follows around, this makes the book very readable and easy to connect with. Even though the characters are imaginable, their situations are very difficult to picture and their attitudes are even harder to empathise with. Industrial China is far removed from our world, although in some ways there is a lot of commonality.
I've never been to China but the descriptions from friends who have been tally with this book, with one of the main impressions being the pace of life and the fast changes - "everything is in the process of becoming something else". The atmosphere created is exactly how I think it is at the moment, plenty of people on the move and relationships all very short. Some people are brought into the narrative and disappear very quickly, never to be mentioned again.
The author digresses away from the story of the factory girls as she takes the opportunity to investigate and report on her family's history. This is not completely in the spirit of the book but does give the chance to present a whistle stop summary of Chinese modern history, giving a background to the personal stories. I got quite confused in this section, a family tree would have been great as all the the Zhangs started to merge at one point.
Great book which is very accessible.
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