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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! Just brilliant! A mighty saga of modern China., 27 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: To the Edge of the Sky (Paperback)
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 Sept. 2001
By 
linaie@hotmail.com (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: To the Edge of the Sky (Paperback)
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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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best of its kind., 28 Dec. 2003
This review is from: To the Edge of the Sky (Paperback)
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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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
This review is from: To the Edge of the Sky (Paperback)
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
This review is from: To the Edge of the Sky (Paperback)
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
This review is from: To the Edge of the Sky (Paperback)
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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7 of 7 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
This review is from: To the Edge of the Sky (Hardcover)
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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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely wonderful, 20 Dec. 2005
This review is from: To the Edge of the Sky (Paperback)
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. Along the way, we are introduced to some of the incredible individuals that have crossed her path and thus, we are made aware of the bravery of the people of China during the period. This story tells of love, suffering, loss, pain, fear, pride, winning and losing, finding ones self. It tells of humanity.
Not only is this book incredibly informative, but its throughly entertaining. No autobiography has grasped me to the extent that this has acheived. Anhua tells her story in such a way that it is hard not to understand her expereinces. Obviously, we can never truly feel the horrors of such periods as the cultural revolution but this book takes us one step closer. Ultimately, we are given hope. If any book could save lifes, its this one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written account of life in Mao's China., 27 Jun. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: To the Edge of the Sky (Paperback)
This was a truly wonderful and extremely moving book. The first two chapters, when Anhua describes her parents, seem a little clinical. However, as she recounts her own life story, one cannot cease to be moved by her joys and suffering. Anhua never dwells in self pity and despite her tortuous life, her hope and optimism are inspiring.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exploration into the depths of humanity and inhumanity., 29 Sept. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: To the Edge of the Sky (Hardcover)
A compelling and thought provoking read. 'To the edge of the Sky' will momentarily (at least) make you appreciate what England has to offer. When I sadly came to the end of this book I had to remind myself that it wasn't fiction. Anhua Gao was subjected to horrors that one would equate with medieval times - not the 20th century. Her incredible will to survive and succeed will make anyone who is complacent feel an enormous sense of guilt. This book has vast appeal. It is factual, historical, and political and what appealed to me was it was about real people, written from a perspective that really observed the human condition in varied states. Despite the horrors that Anhua experienced and witnessed she finds solace in the truly humanitarian souls that she meets throughout the course of her life. Although it is set against a political backdrop, Anhua does not swamp her readers with jargon and political commentary. Instead, she manages to recreate the atmosphere that Mao's political machine imposed on the people of China. She displays incredible strength of mind, body and spirit and I am sure any reader will find it amazing that she actually lived to tell her tale. This book is not a depressing read. What it does is do is contrast the very worst with the very best emotions, circumstances and experiences that any one person could encounter in a lifetime. She tells her story with a reflective composure that did not leave me with a need to feel sympathetic. I felt a deep admiration for her will to survive and her faith in her self. I felt equally moved by 'Birdsong' by Sebastian Faulks again because it considered and explored the intricacies of human relationships and the larger perspective of one mans survival against anothers.When I concluded this book I felt moved and astonished by what I had read because these events had occurred in my lifetime. I feel enlightened and educated and would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone!
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To the Edge of the Sky
To the Edge of the Sky by Anhua Gao (Paperback - 7 Jun. 2001)
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