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Mao's Last Dancer - Young Readers' Edition [MP3 CD]

Li Cunxin , Paul English
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.61
Price: 10.16 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 4.68  
Hardcover, Illustrated --  
Paperback 5.24  
MP3 CD 6.03  
MP3 CD, 25 Feb 2013 10.16  
Audio Download, Unabridged 8.40 or Free with 30-day free trial

Book Description

25 Feb 2013

The true story of a poor Chinese peasant boy who, plucked unsuspectingly at the age of ten from millions of others across the land to be trained as a ballet dancer, turned the situation to his advantage to become one of the world's greatest ballet stars.

Simply told, with charm, humour and compassion and at times, great drama. His childhood, despite the terrible hardships, is drawn with love and affection and contrasts starkly with the seven lonely years of gruelling training at the Peking Dance Academy. At the age of l8, Li performs at the Houston Ballet school in the US, which leads to his dramatic defection.

This is a condensed edition, specially for younger readers, and has an Afterword especially for children.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing; MP3 Una edition (25 Feb 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1743158947
  • ISBN-13: 978-1743158944
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13.5 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,723,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'An inspiring true story of courage and determination' - Adeline Yen Mah, author of 'Falling Leaves' 'His vivid descriptions of life at home, surviving on family love and dried yams, and of the harsh regime, make riveting reading' Guardian 'Mao's Last Dancer is a modern fairy-tale. Li Cunxin's story is a breathtaking indictment of brute Communism, told with great honesty' - Kate Adie 'Appalling, brave and funny ... you cannot do better than to read this book' Mail on Sunday --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Li Cunxin was born in 1961 near the city of Qingdao on the coast of north-east China. The sixth of seven sons in a poor rual family Li's peasant life in Chairman Mao's communist china changed dramatically when he was chosen by Madame Mao's cultural advisers to become a student at the Beijing Dance Academy. Li went on to become one of the best male dancers in the world. He now lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and family. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and beautifully written 11 Aug 2011
The true story of a small boy plucked from his family in a remote Chinese village to become a ballet star. You feel everything with this humble, sincere man, including - most exhilaratingly - the sensation of dancing. An inspiring story and beautifully written: a very deserving bestseller. I defy anyone to give this book less than 5 stars! So why is the DVD of the film still not available in European format?!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Mao's Last Dancer" Inspiration for the heart. 4 Jan 2004
By Bianca
Being the first biography I have ever read...I was unsure on how I would adapt to the texture of the piece. Raised on Edith Blyton and later fed tales of love and war by ultimate classics like Ludlum and Grisham, "Mao's last dancer" did something that previously I have never really found in books. Sure it would be great to be a walking talking James Bond, or to fulfil my destiny to rid middle earth of 'the ring to rule them all' but in my head they are just dreams. Li Cunxins dreams seemed so impossible, and yet against all odds he became a successor. Living now in a world many light years away from the then China, its almost incomprehensible to me, but yet his story has enlightened the way I see things, and the way I will continue to see things.
From the Chinese prophecies to the details of Cunxin's 'dia' and 'niang', every aspect seem to carry about a balance that draws you in deeper to his life. By the third chapter I was completely hooked and continued reading on and on into the night, until before I knew it, I had finished the book in only one day.
I felt like I was there with him on the entire journey, page to page; and as in any book, this is an important factor. I would like to thank Li Cunxin and those who made it possible for me to feel part of such a wonderfully colourful, yet sometimes dark, life embrace.
I would recommend this book to people of all ages, as I am but 16 and found it inspiring to the heart. 5 out of 5 Stars.
By Bianca Newman
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest rendition of a remarkable journey 31 Dec 2003
By A Customer
I hardly ever read books, so for me the propsect of sitting down to read a biography of a ballet dancer was daunting. I have to say though, Li's story is amazing, not so much for the journey from physical and poilitical hardship to all the west has to offer, but more for the resolve a small boy had to muster in order to find his way out of the well.
I liked the manner in which the story is told, open, honest and without pretention. It held me from cover to cover. A great read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But beware! See review 18 Dec 2008
This is the Young Readers' version of the adult book of the same name. There is no indication on the Amazon blurb or on the front cover image that this is the case. I have given it a 5-star rating, as I'm sure it will be a total inspiration to young people and will be as beautifully and gently written as the adult version.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight into Mao's China 18 Nov 2008
By Kim
I loved this book. It provides a fascinating insight into the lives of rural peasants in Mao's communist China - the propoganda, the unbelievable poverty, lack of opportunity and the brutality of the communist regime. Li's story of being taken out of the impoverised but loving environment of his family when he was chosen to train at the Beijing Dance Academy, evokes in detail his terrible homesickness,the tortuous training regimes he endured, and the dedication and support of new friend and teachers. The second part of the story, of his adult life in America, is skipped over with less detail and feels a bit crammed in. However the reunion with his family after many years without contact is very moving and overall it is a great story, well told and very readable. You don't need to know anything about dance to enjoy this book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply inspiring 12 April 2011
I bought this book as a part of my 'books-I-have-to-read-because-I've-heard-I-just-have-to' project. So with little knowledge about the story, I started reading the book sunday afternoon and finished it monday evening, which makes this one of my fastest read books. This is partly because of the natural writing and partly because the story itself is extremely captivating. I turned the pages to fast that smoke almost emerged :) The narrating voice of Li Cunxin is extremely honest and sincere and from the first page my empathy for him was enormous. I laughed when he laughed, tasted the dumplings when he did, felt tense and desperate when he did and burst into tears with him as well. I liked how the narrating voice also developed in terms of observations and perspective on life as the story progresses and Cunxin grows older. The fables and small anecdotes Cunxin reflects on gives the story a touch of a modern fairytale and I was amazed to read how they became a source of inspiration to him as well. I really loved all the elements of the book - the ballet, the cultural aspect, the political aspect and how they were woven into a deeply inspiring tale about determination and realising dreams. I would reccommend this book to all book lovers - this is definitely one of my favorite books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mao's Last Dancer 6 May 2012
By M Sun
I don't normally write book reviews on Amazon but this book was so inspiring that I thought I'd write one.

The book is a heart breaking autobiography - it starts with the author's poor upbringing on a farm during China's cultural revolution, moves onto separation from his family when he is sent to the Beijing Dance Academy at the age of eleven and ends with his ballet achievements as an adult in the US. The author has really captured the essence of Chinese life during the cultural revolution and also accurately highlights the contrast between life in China with life in the West. The book really makes one think about how far China has come economically in the last forty years and also how much further it has yet to go, especially in other areas (e.g. freedom of speech).

The story was very touching and I had tears in my eyes several times. The author's determination to make a better life for himself and his family through becoming one of the best ballet dancers in the world was truly inspirational - it just goes to show that a person can achieve anything through sheer hard work and determination!! It's an excellent book - both thought provoking and touching. I would highly recommend it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Honest, true, inspiring and historically relevant
A beautifully honest and simply written account of a lucky yong boy, who succeeded beyond expectation due to his own, as well as imposed determination. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Cheeky Chops
5.0 out of 5 stars just beautiful
An amazing story....What an incredible life he led. One of the best books I've read in ages. Well worth a read.
Published 17 days ago by Sam Farmer
5.0 out of 5 stars This is such a good book I couldn't put it down
This is such a good book I couldn't put it down. It tells the story right through the time of Mao and how he got through those years. Excellent
Published 23 days ago by Gabrielle
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it..
Wonderful story, I couldn't put it down, and it's all true!
Published 1 month ago by Rose Daly
4.0 out of 5 stars A very honest autobiography.
I was in China when I read it...., and loved it. I found it informative and well written. He seems to be very humble about his talent.
Published 2 months ago by Maria Chamberlain
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Wonderful book. Couldn't put it down. I don't read a great deal as I only have time when I'm on holiday so this was the perfect read for me.
Published 4 months ago by Mrs. Caroline Booth
Published 4 months ago by l christian
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
What a great story even more so because it was true. It also gives you an insight into that era in China which is interesting.
Published 6 months ago by MAUREEN
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
A truly excellent read. This boy was only born in 1961 and the poverty the Chinese people endured even then was unbelievable. I shed many a tear. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great determination!
With a ballet dancing grandson (aged 11 & at the Royal Ballet School), my wife and I were interested in how a peasant boy eating dried yams could make it to the top of dancers. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Noel Dobbs
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