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Broken Earth Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (September 1, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0029217202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0029217207
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #548,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is simply one of the best books about China ever written. Professor Mosher actually lived in a farm village in the southern Chinese province of Kwangtung for several years before writing this book summing up his research (he is fluent in Cantonese). The result is elegantly written, sharply observant and richly compassionate towards the good, simple country folk he lived among. Thanks to Prof. Mosher's heretical conclusion (based partly on the testimony of his village correspondents themselves) that life for the Chinese peasant was actually better before their so-called "liberation" by the Communists, Prof. Mosher is now persona non grata in mainland China, but that hasn't stopped him from continuing to be the most insightful commentator on Chinese life--especially the lives of ordinary Chinese--in the West today. An absolutely essential book for those interested in contemporary China!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
While I received this book as a second-hand gift consequent to a library sale, I enthusiastically recommend its purchase to anyone interested in China and day to day life events. Mr. Mosher provides detailed descriptions of villagers in southern China in the early 1980's. Through his writings, one is able to visualize events of daily life which may be far different than the images noted during a tourist visit to China. His comments are thoughtful and sometimes provocative. I yearned to learn more. Detailed narratives are provided from villagers reguarding some of the more controversial aspects of rural life in China in the 1980's (ie. birth control, the one-child policy etc.).
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Brian K. Turner on October 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
This sociological study of rural SE China was important for its time (the early 1980s). After 1972, the PRC started letting in journalists and academics on carefully scripted tours of model villages. For the next 8 years, countless books and articles were produced from these tours presenting naive glowing reports of peasants whistling while they work (William Parish and Martin Whyte's "Village and Family in Contemporary China" largely excepted). Mosher's book provided a necessary corrective to that uncritical tidal wave, pointing out the darker side of rural life under the PRC dictatorship.

However, since the late 1980s, there have been many book length village studies by top western scholars and locals, and tons of other scholarly work on late Maoist, early reform China (see Jonathan Unger "The Transformation of Rural China" for a collection of outstanding articles by a top veteran). This scholarly work, unlike the 1970s claptrap, present a balanced view of rural China under the PRC. In this new context, Mosher's book is one sided in the negative direction.

Another reason this book is dated is that the one child policy, which gets ample attention in this book, was much more rigid and brutal in the 1979-85 period than it became in later periods (peasant resistance forced the regime to ease up somewhat). Thus, Mosher's volume is useful only for reconstructing a history of the early 1980s phase of population policy, not at all representative of the entirety of PRC population policy.
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