The Chinese Economic miracle is happening despite, not because of, Chinas 900 million peasants. They are missing from the portraits of booming Shanghai, or Beijing. Many of Chinas underclass live under a feudalistic system unchanged since the fifteenth century. Wu Chuntao and Chen Guidi undertook a three-year survey of what had happened to the peasants in one of the poorest provinces, Anhui, asking the question: have the peasants been betrayed by the revolution undertaken in their name by Mao and his successors? The result is a brilliant narrative of life among the poor, a vivid portrait of the petty dictators that run Chinas villages and counties, and the consequences of their bullying despotism on the people they administer.