Three Stories of Change in Modern China
Wild Grass: Three Stories of Change in Modern China (Pantheon, 2004) looks at how an authoritarian government can keep up with the pressures for change from a rapidly modernizing society, where levels of education and prosperity are rising every day. Told through the eyes of three remarkably unremarkable people, the stories are also allegories for China's countryside, its cities and its spiritual realm. For a full discussion of the ideas behind the book please go this site's project page "Civil Society in China."
For a review in Apple Daily of the Chinese edition's 2016 reissue, click here.
“A gripping tale of a very few ordinary people and their extraordinary courage in fighting for their rights against the Communist Party leviathan.”
The Washington Post Book World
“This year’s best general book on China.”
China Economic Quarterly
“…an elegantly written collection of tales of a few of the ‘thousands of ordinary Chinese’ pushing forward a ‘slow-motion revolution’. . . . Poignant. . . ”
“Illuminating. . . .Johnson has not only lifted a corner of the curtain which covers China’s reality beyond its glittering eastern cities; he has drawn the whole curtain.”
The Times Literary Supplement
“Perhaps more than any other recent writer, Ian Johnson . . . captures [China’s] ‘slow-motion revolution.’ ”
The Baltimore Sun
“Wild Grass is journalism at its best.”
South China Morning Post