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To the Edge of the Sky [Hardcover]

Anhua Gao
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

25 May 2000
This family saga is set within the framework of the tumultuous events of 20th-century China. Anhua (little flower) is the daughter of two revolutionary martyrs who leave her and her three siblings orphaned. This is the story of her extraordinary life in this vast and contradictory country. She, like many thousands, suffers under the swinging opinions of the powers that be - finding herself one moment favoured by the authorities and her peers and then denounced and imprisoned.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; First Edition First Printing edition (25 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670888311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670888313
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.3 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 487,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'A candid humility and patient lovingness that regularly snatched at this reader's heart' Independent --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Anhua Gao was born in 1949 in Shandong, Nanjing Province and moved to England after a lifetime of tremendous hardship in December 1994. This is her first book. She now lives in Folkestone, Kent. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best of its kind. 28 Dec 2003
I have read quite a few biographies and novels set in China during the last century. Many women have written about their experiences in such volatile and changing times and obviously some are better told than others. This, for me, is one of the better ones. Gao's parents were committed Communists who had a high rank in the party. Their status helped protect her after their death, when the Communist regime failed its people and then persecuted them. Gao's tale is told chronologically and catalogues many of the events and their affects on the people in China generally, as well as direct effects on herself and family friends. For a moving, yet ultimately uplifting, version of what it was like for a young woman in China then this very well written book is one to go for.
I don't read as much as I would like these days, but this is one of only a few books I have rated 5 stars and definitely one of the best books I have read in 2003.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I was greatly touched by the moving story,a real page-turner! But sometimes I just had to lay it aside to cope with my emotions. Sometimes tears, othertimes laugh-out-loud amusement and at times just to allow my heart to slow down to normal. Being of Chinese origin, the wonderful descriptive way with words Anhua Gao has, easily allowed me to imagine myself in her situation. I experienced the pain, just like the millions of other Chinese who suffered the same disaster under Mao's cruel regime. Anyone in the West who wants to know China better should read this book and use it as the best reference book for their research. The book tells you what really happened during the second half of the 20th century, and how it affected one tiny woman. Born in the same year the Communists took power in China, she knew nothing other than the official Party line. Although Mao has been dead for over twenty years, his teachings are still the dominant force behind Chinese Communist Party thinking. Fortunately, most Chinese people have now realized how evil Mao was and no longer believe in Communism. This is the best book I have ever read. And I know you will enjoy it too. But be warned,it will shock you to your core, and it is not for the squeamish.I recommend this book to all my friends...and so will you.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling life story. 11 Sep 2001
Anhua Gao writes her account with strength and clarity. She shows the madness and chaos of the Cultural Revolution in China, where torture and imprisonment was an everyday occurence. But yet the where the good in the human soul still burns strongly. I'd recommend anyone with an interest in the communist regime in China to read this woman's touching account of her own life through this terrible time.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please read this book - it's a unique treasure! 24 Aug 2003
Having read somewhere on this page something to the effect that "To the Edge of the Sky" will be out of print, I want to urge anyone who has found this book here on Amazon out of an interest for China, to read it. Please do. It may not be the best-known biography or memoir on China, but it deserves to be read and besides, it is the best book on the subject I have read (I've got a very intense interest in China and its history).
You will find this book to be the most amazing story of a young woman's struggle for freedom under a cruel leadership and in a society which was dangerous for anyone who was assumed an intellectual or a rebel - call it whatever you like. It's absolutely heart-renching, a real page-turner, a book that is sure to make you laugh and cry. So if you're interested in China, don't miss this book. Up to this day, it's my favorite and I adore Anhua Gao to have emerged from a troubled and most difficult life to find true happiness. She doesn't only write about being Chinese, but also, simply, about being a woman. A wonderful, wonderful book!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing. 7 Nov 2002
Quite simply the most amazing book I have ever read. I do hope Anhua writes a follow up. The story of Anhua's life is simply awe inspiring and I hope she, her daughter and her husband only have the best of life from now on. How a human being could go through the pain, suffering, heartache and betrayal that she has been through and come out smiling is beyond me. Buy this book; it is an absolute joy to read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that changes the way you think.... 2 Dec 2001
By A Customer
I have been reasently reading a large number of books about China and although they were all set in different parts of the country I thought that this really told of what it was like to live there; It gives just the right ammount of political background to put a brilliantly written book in a context that is easy to understand, even those of us that find politics particularly mind-boggling. It tells of her victories and losses, her marriage and the kindness shown by a select few at the sake of their own lives when everyone else deserted her. To summing up such a superb book is difficult but I will say that it is telling one woman's journey, discovering the reality of Chairman Mao and the Communist regime.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What a great book on women in China. 7 Jan 2001
By A Customer
I couldnt wait to read every word on every page of this book. This story is a very personal story of one womans journey through China during the Cultural Revolution. Her name means "Little Flower", and the story she tells of her growing up in a very chaotic China is a real eye-opener. Through hunger, violence, pain, false accusations she endures against incredible odds to live true to her dreams. Thank you Anhua Gao for such a great book----one I have to recommend to all my friends.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for sinologists
I came to this book having been entranced by The Good Earth, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China and The Good Women Of China: Hidden Voices. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mr. A. J. Flynn
5.0 out of 5 stars a ground-breaking memoir
This is a truly unforgettable book, a story of one woman's life in communist China that will live with you long after you have finished reading. Read more
Published 19 months ago by thetruthshallsetyefree
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional
I have read Jung Chang's Wild Swans, Ai Pingmu's Vermilion Gate, Sirin Phathanothai's Dragon's Pearl, and Nien Cheng's Life and Death in Shanghai. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Miss R
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Having visited China a couple of times in 2011 and 2012 I wanted to read about it's more recent history, particularly the Cultural Revolution. This book did not disappoint. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Mike Bingham
5.0 out of 5 stars Really moving
After visiting China, I wanted to find out more about its recent history. I don't really want to read historical text books so this autobiography was a real eye-opener. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Reddy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I bought this book after reading such fantastic reviews about it on amazon and I wasnt disappointed. It is one of the best books I have every read. highly recommended.
Published 22 months ago by sue
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read
An unforgettable book, one that gives the reader a glimpse into life in China during the rise of communism. Anna brings us on a vivid journey through her life. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Matilda Jenkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect gift
I bought this book for my mum at christmas and it arrived very promptly. She has just recently finished reading it and she really enjoyed it.
Published on 8 Mar 2011 by Deepii
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching and heart-warming true history
This is an historic tale told by one girl who lived through life in Communist China. It is a pleasure to read - depsite the harrowing subject matter - and leaves you with a real... Read more
Published on 8 April 2009 by Hayles
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely wonderful
Anhua, the daughter of two revolutionary martyrs, tells us the story of her experiences growing up in communist China and experiencing Maos descent into madness. Read more
Published on 20 Dec 2005 by "suziestuddart"
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