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1 Burnside Asia- China Peoples Republic 1949 to Present
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Factory Girls

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Factory Girls Cover

ISBN13: 9780330447362
ISBN10: 033044736x
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An eye-opening and previously untold story, Factory Girls is the first look into the everyday lives of the migrant factory population in China.

China has 130 million migrant workers--the largest migration in human history. In Factory Girls, Leslie T. Chang, a former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Beijing, tells the story of these workers primarily through the lives of two young women, whom she follows over the course of three years as they attempt to rise from the assembly lines of Dongguan, an industrial city in China's Pearl River Delta.

As she tracks their lives, Chang paints a never-before-seen picture of migrant life--a world where nearly everyone is under thirty; where you can lose your boyfriend and your friends with the loss of a mobile phone; where a few computer or English lessons can catapult you into a completely different social class. Chang takes us inside a sneaker factory so large that it has its own hospital, movie theater, and fire department; to posh karaoke bars that are fronts for prostitution; to makeshift English classes where students shave their heads in monklike devotion and sit day after day in front of machines watching English words flash by; and back to a farming village for the Chinese New Year, revealing the poverty and idleness of rural life that drive young girls to leave home in the first place. Throughout this riveting portrait, Chang also interweaves the story of her own family's migrations, within China and to the West, providing historical and personal frames of reference for her investigation.

A book of global significance that provides new insight into China, Factory Girls demonstrates how the mass movement from rural villages to cities is remaking individual lives and transforming Chinese society, much as immigration to America's shores remade our own country a century ago.

Synopsis:

'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' Simon Winchester

Every year in China millions of migrant workers leave their rural towns to find jobs in the cities. These people are the driving forces behind China's economic boom: they work very hard and for little money to make the trainers, ornaments, designer handbags and toys which we buy.

Through the lives of two young women, Chang vividly portrays a world where you can lose your boyfriend and your friends with the loss of a cell phone; where lying about your age, your education, and your work experience is often a requisite for getting ahead; where a few computer or English lessons can catapult you into a completely different social class. This is a powerful and humane portrait of the forces which are shaping China.

'Astonishing . . . Heartbreaking . . . As one tool in trying to understand today's China, this is a most valuable, if troubling read' Irish Times

'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' Scotsman

'Chang's elegant book is evidence that the best trips home often require a circuitous approach'

Nell Freudenberger, Financial Times

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Edward Hahn, November 19, 2013 (view all comments by Edward Hahn)
A most accurate picture of what it's like to be a female migrant worker in Guangdong Province in Southeastern China. Much of the narrative describes events and locations in Dongguan, a city a short distance Northeast of Hong Kong.

I am personally familiar with this part of China, having worked in the area off and on from 1981 to 2003 when I retired. I have also interviewed factory girls myself but only in the context of their work, not their personal lives.

The detail with which the author paints the two major characters, Min and Chunming, is astounding. She basically, spent three years in more or less constant contact with both of them and has chronicled their lives, their attitudes and their relationships in painstaking detail.

She also used her time in China to pursue her own family's history and intersperses the girls' stories with her own. At times this is a little disconcerting and doesn't always make sense in terms of flow but nevertheless is very interesting.

Since Chang is, by training, a journalist rather than an author, her writing is lean and terse. Her ability to stay in the observer's role is admirable. At times she adds her personal comments but these are either generalizations about situations or comments about the girls' lives. She never jumps to easy conclusions or makes denigrating judgments.

I find it difficult to summarize the book because of it's breadth and depth. Suffice to say, I believe I have a true picture of what these girls' lives are like and by extension many of their peers. I also am once again reminded of how strong the pull of history is on Overseas Chinese, no matter how far removed they are from their roots.

I'd like to make another observation that occurred to me while reading this account. Most of the truly insightful books, I've read about China and the Chinese were written by women: Jung Chang, Anchee Min, Iris Chang, Amy Tan, or Emily Hahn. Those written by men like Paul Theroux or J. Maarten Troost either seemed to miss the essence of China or were just trying to be humorous. I have no problem accepting that I've just made an unfair generalization but that's been my experience.

The above notwithstanding, Factory Girls tells a fascinating and worthwhile story.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780330447362
Author:
Chang, Leslie T
Binding:
TRADE PAPER

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Nursing
History and Social Science » Asia » China » Peoples Republic 1949 to Present
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » World History » China
Travel » General

Factory Girls Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details pages - English 9780330447362 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , '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' Simon Winchester

Every year in China millions of migrant workers leave their rural towns to find jobs in the cities. These people are the driving forces behind China's economic boom: they work very hard and for little money to make the trainers, ornaments, designer handbags and toys which we buy.

Through the lives of two young women, Chang vividly portrays a world where you can lose your boyfriend and your friends with the loss of a cell phone; where lying about your age, your education, and your work experience is often a requisite for getting ahead; where a few computer or English lessons can catapult you into a completely different social class. This is a powerful and humane portrait of the forces which are shaping China.

'Astonishing . . . Heartbreaking . . . As one tool in trying to understand today's China, this is a most valuable, if troubling read' Irish Times

'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' Scotsman

'Chang's elegant book is evidence that the best trips home often require a circuitous approach'

Nell Freudenberger, Financial Times

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