Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Will the Boat Sink the Water?: The Life of China's Peasants” as Want to Read:
Will the Boat Sink the Water?: The Life of China's Peasants
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Will the Boat Sink the Water?: The Life of China's Peasants

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  229 ratings  ·  45 reviews
The Chinese economic miracle is happening despite, not because of, China's 900 million peasants. They are missing from the portraits of booming Shanghai, or Beijing. Many of China's underclass live under a feudalistic system unchanged since the fifteenth century. They are truly the voiceless in modern China. They are also, perhaps, the reason that China will not be able to ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by Public Affairs (first published 2004)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Will the Boat Sink the Water?, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Will the Boat Sink the Water?

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 409)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
While the book is informative, nonetheless the translation was spotty and it suffers from the illness that plagues all journalists: it is more focused on stories than about analysis. Unfortunately, many of these stories already appeared in China's domestic press, so while they may be new to foreign eyes the authors' reporting was not particularly original. In addition, the authors seem to make every person in their reporting two-dimensional: either good or evil. Nuance or careful analysis will n ...more

Apa yang kamu ketahui tentang China? Shanghai..Jackie Chan...Film Kung Fu…Shaolin..Produk murah..atau pertumbuhan ekonominya yang fantastis menyaingi Amerika Serikat...Hal-hal tersebut juga terlintas dipikiran saya..Seperti kata pepatah, air sungai tenang menghanyutkan..sungguh yang terlihat dari China hanya di permukaannya saja yang tampak tenang-tenang..tapi jauh kedalamannya terdapat tekanan yang begitu kuat..Dan ibaratnya sebuah buku, Cover yang menarik hati bisa saja menipu pembaca.

Yang tak
Christopher Rex
The book gets 3-stars b/c it is a "black market" book in China about Chinese peasants written by Chinese peasants who lived it. If it was some pencilneck, ivory tower dweeb who wrote it, it would be 2-stars. It's interesting and very enlightening to the plight of the Chinese peasantry (numbering 900million) and tells quite a bit about the HOW and WHY of the Chinese economic boom (as well as the brutal costs). But, it spends too much time "storytelling" about "this bad thing" and "that bad thing" ...more
Aug 05, 2014 Ryoko rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: china
I learned a great deal about the Chinese political system. For instance, the US has a three tiered system whereas China has a five tiered system. The burden that the Chinese peasantry must bear to support this bloated bureaucracy is excessive as are the local cadres methods of squeezing the peasants for money. I knew this book would be good since it is banned in China. I was not disappointed. It takes a truthful, fair look at one area of modern China that needs A LOT of improvement.
"Will the Boat Sink the Water?" är en bok jag inte skulle ha läst på fritiden främst på grund av att boken behandlar ett ämne jag inte är jätteintresserad av att läsa om. Med denna inställning till boken kanske det inte är så konstigt att jag blev positivt överraskad. Trots att boken innehåller en del krångliga ord är den lättläst tack vare alla utförliga exempel. Dessutom blir boken intressant när man får exempel att relatera till för att förstå problemet. Det gör att boken kommer närmare och a ...more
Dec 18, 2007 Roos rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who love history
1949 - 2001, Ternyata memang perjuangan yang lama untuk rakyat China mencapai kemajuan seperti sekarang ini, terutama buat para petani, yang ditekan sedemikian rupa untuk keuntungan bagi oknum-oknum pemerintahan yang berkuasa.

Jadi ingat film-film Mafia-nya Andi Lau waktu dulu, dibuku ini para petani yang membangkang dihajar habis-habisan sampai mati bahkan mayatnya pun bisa tidak dikenali saking parahnya pembantaian, dan yang lebih menyebalkan adalah cerita sebenarnya bisa dibelokkan sedemikian
Started and finished this book yesterday (silly due dates at silly libraries). This is the English translation of a book called 中国农民问题调查 that made waves in China a few years ago (2004-ish I think). It was banned a month after it was released on the mainland but went on to sell something like 7 million copies in pirated form. Really interesting and heart breaking, the authors investigated cases of local corruption in tax and fee collection in villages across Anhui Province, one of China's poorest ...more
Maybe it was the 'chinese-ness' of the narrative, but I just didn't like this book. Yeah, they're poor and their lives are difficult, but was expecting a bit more of an overall point from this book. I guess (spoiler alert!!!) the point is that the size of the country, poor infrastructure, bureaucracy and some not so nice provincial officials make life miserable for the chinese peasantry. There's a bit about the history of their plight and the broken promises of the central gov't, but it's just s ...more
buku yang mengisahkan sisi lain dari kemajuan bangsa cina yang spektakuler sekarang ini
membuktikan bahwa kehidupan selalu punya dua sisi bertolak belakang yang justru semakin membuat hidup ini lebih berarti
membaca buku ini membuat kita menyadari juga bahwa revolusi apa pun bentuk dan alasannya selalu memakan korban tapi itulah harga yang harus dibayar untuk menghasilkan suatu perubahan

sekali lagi saya membaca buku terjemahan yang membuat buku ini mempunyai keterbatasan dalam penyampaian cerita s
This is the worst beach read I ever chose, as it inflamed me against a totalitarian state that kills the spirit and then the body of over 800 million people. Completely incongruous with the sun, sand, sea, and seduction all around me. I couldn't put it down though. Therefore, no flirting on the beach, and thus saving the relationship with the woman who is now my wife. If the reds knew this, would they still ban the book? Probably, and that's why they're reds!
Feb 25, 2008 Ari rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This book has a great untold stories about China's farmers. There are chapters that explore the suffer of China's farmers (because of the unlimited taxes) in different districts, showing how they manage to survive and how they struggle to get their rights back. In these contents, this book is amazing. But, I'm really confortable with the plot. Ini the middle of the content, I felt so boring because the each story has almost the same matters.
Aug 10, 2007 John rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people in China
The first few chapters are horrifying stories about what peasants have been going through over the last ten years including over-taxation, corrupt leaders, murders, other bad things...

The last two chapters, I thought lacked direction. And the message about what the peasants should do was only suggested at the last few pages. Left me wanting more. The translation is mediocre.

This is a good book, and the final chapter highlights some of the inherent contradictions in solving the problem of the Chinese peasant farmer - tax reformation eases the burden on the peasants but impoverish the rural government at the same time. Definite medicine to counter the "China fever" that affects much of the Western media world.
Oct 15, 2007 Katie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in modern China
This book is maybe a little too serious for the casual reader with no knowledge of modern China. It is, however, very important for the world to read in order to understand the plight of China's peasants and to see that the images of development in the news really only represent the situation for those lucky enough to hold an urban residence permit.
Sunny San
Oct 23, 2007 Sunny San rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: China-lover, investigator... :P
Such a controversial book... :)
The authors are vvv brave 2 write all datas 'n crucial information regarding China's governmental bureaucracy in grassroots level...
We may see the other side of China centralized government...
Overall, it enriches our perspective in understanding China's internal society...
Very important stories about how China's government can easily become corrupt on the local, village level as the power officials wield approaches 'absolute' given the lack of checks and balances. But help me god, it is boring - largely a recitation of all the petty squabbles that only Chinese villagers could have.
bangkit aditya
Hohoho, this one would knock PRC government down. This is extremely a great investigation report. The author captured the uneasiness of Chinese peasants, how they've been exploited bluntly by the village party official. Thank god that the Chinese government has done much about it today!
masih belum selesai baca. tapi kayaknya menarik. melihat sisi lain kemajuan ekonomi china yang mengagumkan itu. kayak endonesa di masa pertengahan orde baru kayaknya.

*)semua buku yang masuk di TAGS currently-reading belum satupun yang selesai kubaca sampai hari ini. menyebalkan!
Ratri Dian
Hasil kerja sepasang suami-istri yang sangat mengagumkan. Buku ini lahir dari keberanian menggugat kesalahan-kesalahan tersembunyi dengan riset-riset 'berbahaya'. TOP!
Membuka wawasan siapa saja mengenai apa-apa yang ada di balik negara besar China..,
This book gives a very good, and very real description of the sad state of China's peasants. It also came with a heavy cost. The authors were persecuted and the books were quickly banned in China. It is should be shocking to read.
Written by two journalists in China. A worthy topic that deserves more serious attention (justice and rights in an oppressive and corrupt system) but an absolutely awful translation and a disappointing lack of serious methods.
Jan 11, 2010 Latifahsaja is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Rada mengejutkan...ketika membacanya seakan2 bukan realita dan heran aj kekejaman demi kekejaman bisa terjadi di era 'bersinarnya' cina. Kisah2 di buku mirip kisah film2 cina tentang tuan tanah kejam.
I knew that it would be depressing, and it was. I think that it is a good book to read and spread the knowledge of how life is for Chinese peasants, but it also seemed slow and hard to follow at times.
Whoa. How many people's eyes need to be opened about the poverty in China? And I thought Mexico was bad. Corruption in rural China needs to end. Cut back on the governmental layers.
like the other countries, even china, the asian growing tiger, have their own problem. Mostly, this book tell us about the poverty and corruption in some village.
An eye-opening book about the reality of chinese peasant life and the injustices that are still ongoing today.

Very informative and interesting read.
Must read for anyone attempting a better understanding of China's internal challenges and the plight of peasants in the developing world at large.
kinu triatmojo
Kisah-kisah kehidupan rakyat jelata Cina di bawah kekuasaan partai komunis dalam ranah politik, ekonomi, sosial yang dituturkan dengan berani.
Great insight into the two separate societies that exist in China today. Highlights the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Wild Grass: Three Stories of Change in Modern China
  • What Does China Think?
  • China: Fragile Superpower: The Fragile Superpower
  • One Billion Customers: Lessons from the Front Lines of Doing Business in China
  • Mr. China: A Memoir
  • Tiger Head, Snake Tails: China today, how it got there and why it has to change
  • The Boxer Rebellion: The Dramatic Story of China's War on Foreigners that Shook the World in the Summer of 1900
  • Out of Mao's Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China
  • The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories, China from the Bottom Up
  • The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage
  • Chinese Lessons: Five Classmates and the Story of the New China
  • The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China's Future
  • Postcards from Tomorrow Square: Reports from China
  • 十個詞彙裡的中國 (China in Ten Words)
  • China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power
  • Poorly Made in China: An Insider's Account of the Tactics Behind China's Production Game
  • China's Silent Army: The Pioneers, Traders, Fixers and Workers Who Are Remaking the World in Beijing's Image
  • Behind the Wall: A Journey Through China
Può la barca affondare l'acqua? Vita dei contadini cinesi

Share This Book