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The Accidental Capitalist: A People's Story of the New China Paperback – March 27, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0745332307 ISBN-10: 0745332307

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745332307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745332307
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,066,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A modern Alexis de Tocqueville, the author lived among his subjects in Shenzen, ‘the heartbeat of the rising China,’ while scouring the metropolis for stories... Casting off polemics and opting instead to address China's development anecdotally, Yaghmaian crafts a moving portrait of the diverse individuals behind the ubiquitous label ‘Made in China.’” - Publishers Weekly

"This remarkable book paints intimate portraits of some of the faceless millions of migrant workers who have made China's economic miracle possible. Through their stories of hope and heartbreak, Yaghmaian takes readers beyond the statistics to show the revolutionary changes of the last generation. From his grungy apartment in the deliciously named Beautiful Rose Garden housing complex, Yaghmaian introduces us to a fascinating cast of characters: the village girl who moves to the big city with dreams of becoming a 'white color worker,' and the factory boss who admits to exploiting his workers and using child labor to make Spiderman bubble-bath for American markets." - Ivan Watson, CNN Foreign Correspondent

"Unskilled migrants have been central to China's rapid industrialisation, but their life stories and voices have been missing from previous accounts of that process. Behzad Yaghmaian fills that gap in this new account of China's epic transformation, told through the personal biographies of men and women working in factories and construction sites. A fascinating, moving and highly readable book." - Jeff Crisp, Head, Policy Development and Evaluation Services, UNHCR

"Like Ian Johnson's Wild Grasses or Leslie Chang's Factory Girls, The Accidental Capitalist takes us to the epicenter of China's world-changing transition through a series of portraits of the men and women who make that change possible. Living among them, Yaghmaian trains his political economist's eye on China's throes of export-led commercial expansion ... He vividly conveys his acquaintances' sense of excitement and even optimism." - Professor James Millward, History, Georgetown University

About the Author

Behzad Yaghmaian is Professor of Political Economy at Ramapo College, New Jersey. He has taught in the United States, Iran and Turkey. He is author of Embracing the Infidel: Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West, and Social Change in Iran: An Eyewitness Account of Dissent, Defiance, and Movements for Rights.

More About the Author

Behzad Yaghmaian is an Iranian-born author living in the United States. Currently, he is a Professor of Political Economy at Ramapo College in New Jersey. He has taught in the United States, Iran, and Turkey.

Yaghmaian has published a number of articles on globalization and Third World Studies in various academic journals. His book, Social Change in Iran: An Eyewitness Account of Dissent, Defiance, and Movements for Rights, was written after a year-long visit to Iran during the time of the brief political opening in Iran in 1998-99. During that period, Yaghmaian was a columnist for a popular reformist newspaper, Neshat, while also contributing articles to other widely-read dailies and magazines. He was the consultant for a 2003 PBS/Channel 4 (England) documentary about Iran.

In September 2002, Yaghmaian left the United States, traveling for two years in the Middle East and Europe following migrants from Muslim countries on the journey to the West. He lived among them, listened to their hopes, dreams, and fears, weaving together dozens of their stories of yearning, persecution, and unwavering faith in his latest book, Embracing the Infidel: Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West.

In 2007, Yaghmaian traveled to china to live among the growing population of internal migrants working in the country's sprawling factories. His most recent book, The Accidental Capitalist: A People's Story of the New China, is a narrative of China's economic and social transformation told through personal biographies of migrants.

Yaghmaian has appeared on CNN, CNN International, Book TV, C-SPAN 2, Amy Goodman's Democracy Now, NPR's Morning Edition, WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show, a number of NPR and local radio stations around the country, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and different radio programs in England, and Italy. His op-ed pieces have been published in USA Today, The New York Times Online,The International Herald Tribune and The Chicago Tribune, and his journalism has appeared in Le Monde Diplomatique and various popular online sites. Translations of his earlier stories were published in National Geographic and Le Monde Diplomatique in Turkish.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jillian T. Weiss on June 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Professor Yaghmaian's book, The Accidental Capitalist: A People's Story of the New China, is redolent with the flavors coming from the small fire in the hut, the odors wafting from the industrial center, the human faces filled with triumph, despair and the cares of daily living. His background as a political economist brings a perspective on the grand scale, but calibrated to the stories of the people he met on his travels. The more one reads, the more one realizes the connection between "them" and "us." The Western myth of the "mysterious Orient" fades away to reveal people, much like you and me, living through an awkward resurgence of capitalism, trying to do their best to create a decent life for themselves and their families, in a country where authorities rule with an iron grip that is slowly loosening, but which may tighten again at any time without warning. A fascinating read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mauricette on April 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Behzad Yaghmaian struck again with his new book The Accidental Capitalist. At a time when the media forcefully reports on the inhumane practices in China's factories, Yaghmaian takes the reader into the homes, minds, and hearts of those who power this industrial engine. The life stories of these men and women shed light on the economic forces that push them to act the way they do. Yaghmaian's insightful work turns the labeling of the Chinese entrepreneur as the abusive businessman and the worker as his victim into an oversimplified account of a multilayered reality. This tour de force is conveyed in a very simple language and through stories that I guarantee will make the reader smile and sad. A MUST READ!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Topcat3 on May 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting portrait of a nation moving forward. It is sad to see the struggle of the people Behzad met, but it emphasizes that fact that the individual is not paramount in China. While our own capitalistic existence appears very different, I do feel we are very similar, because nowadays we find many people struggling just to put food on the table and survive.
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