Subjects Freshman Year Reading African American Studies African Studies American Studies Anthropology Art, Film, Music and Architecture Asian Studies Business and Economics Criminology Education Environmental Studies Foreign Language Instructional Materials Gender Studies History Irish Studies Jewish Studies Latin American & Caribbean Studies Law and Legal Studies Literature and Drama Literature in Spanish Media Issues, Journalism and Communication Middle East Studies Native American Studies Philosophy Political Science Psychology Reference Religion Russian and Eastern European Studies Science and Mathematics Sociology Study Aids

E-Newsletters: Click here to be notified of new titles in your field
Click here to request Desk/Exam copies
Freshman Year Reading
View Our Award Winners
Click here to view our Catalogs
Wild Grass

Wild Grass

Upgrade to the Flash 9 viewer for enhanced content, including the ability to browse & search through your favorite titles.
Click here to learn more!

Order Exam Copy
E-Mail this Page Print this Page
Add This - Wild Grass

Written by Ian JohnsonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Ian Johnson

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • On Sale: March 8, 2005
  • Price: $18.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-375-71919-6 (0-375-71919-9)
Also available as an eBook.
about this book

In Wild Grass, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ian Johnson tells the stories of three ordinary Chinese citizens moved to extraordinary acts of courage: a peasant legal clerk who filed a class-action suit on behalf of overtaxed farmers, a young architect who defended the rights of dispossessed homeowners, and a bereaved woman who tried to find out why her elderly mother had been beaten to death in police custody.

Representing the first cracks in the otherwise seamless façade of Communist Party control, these small acts of resistance demonstrate the unconquerable power of the human conscience and prophesy an increasingly open political future for China.

“The journalist Ian Johnson's Wild Grass is an elegantly written collection of tales of a few of the ‘thousands of ordinary Chinese’ pushing forward a ‘slow-motion revolution’. . . . Poignant. . . . Insightful, well-crafted. . . . Likely to find a broad readership.” –Boston Review

“A captivating and an important study of what is happening on the ground in China today.” –The Christian Science Monitor

“Compelling. . . . Beautifully spare. . . . Johnson is to be commended for his sensitive rendering of his subjects.” –The New York Times

“Excellent reporting. . . . [an] outstanding example of investigative journalism. . . . Johnson writes in a lively manner that empathizes with these people who dare to go against the corrupt apparatus, but he never sacrifices his basic neutrality as a journalist. The result is a riveting and highly informative work that should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding the social, religious, and political dynamics of modern China.” —Journal of Chinese Religions

“Illuminating. . . . There is no better [book] on what life is like for ordinary uppity Chinese. . . . 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

“A sorrow-filled ethnography of Chinese politics viewed from the perspective of ordinary people who, in their struggles to find justice, unwittingly crash into a system rigged against them. In a manner reminiscent of Franz Kafka, Johnson’s interweaving of the personal stories of China’s Mr. and Mrs. K’s into the wider social and political context gives their accounts broader meaning.” —Scott Kennedy, Indiana University, World Policy Journal

“Memorable. . . . Perhaps more than any other recent writer, Ian Johnson . . . captures [China’s] ‘slow-motion revolution.’ ” –The Baltimore Sun

“Elegant. . . . Through dogged reporting . . . we get an exciting inside view. . . . Wild Grass is journalism at its best.” –South China Morning Post

“A triumph. . . . Compelling. . . . A hopeful book. . . . The author’s reporting skills are phenomenal. . . . An invaluable aid for anyone . . . hoping to understand [China’s] economic and political struggles.” –The Washington Times

“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

“Elegantly written. . . . Poignant. . . . Insightful, well-crafted. . . . Likely to find a broad readership.” –Boston Review

“Cause for hope for China’s future. . . . In vivid detail, [Johnson] recounts . . . cases . . . that show that individual Chinese at last have hope that the legal system can help.” –Foreign Affairs

“Gripping . . . taut, perceptive writing. . . . Reads in parts like a John Grisham legal thriller.” –Houston Chronicle

“Johnson is a wonderful storyteller. . . . His book is filled with evocative passages. . . . He captures the resilient spirit of many Chinese people.” –The Christian Science Monitor

“Johnson writes well, wielding a remarkably gentle pen against the grossest injustices or when describing the most remarkable instances of personal bravery. The people written about here could wish for no better chronicler.” –The Asian Review of Books

“This year’s best general book on China.” –China Economic Quarterly