on 27 May 2001
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.
on 11 September 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.
on 28 December 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.
on 24 August 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!
on 7 November 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.
on 2 December 2001
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.
on 7 January 2001
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.
on 20 December 2005
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.
on 27 June 2001
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.
on 4 February 2014
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. To the Edge of the Sky also deserves its place in the canon of great literature on China. Whilst Anhua Gao's family circumstances did not permit her to write an inter-generational epic on the scale of Wild Swans, her account of her own life is absolutely enthralling and constitutes an invaluable testimony of life in China throughout the insanity of Chairman Mao's rule. Gao has brilliantly succeeded in her aim of conveying to the world the viciousness of that era. Many of the events she describes of the tragic fates of innocent human beings, the kindness of some people and the nastiness of others will stay long in my consciousness.
I would just make a couple of pointers for new readers. The beginning of her story, as she describes her parents' origins is a little slow and not so engrossing, but is essential in setting the scene of her own life, so do not let this put you off. Secondly, my memory did not enable me to follow the stories of the uncles and aunts who are mentioned here and there throughout the book, so a tip I would give is to make a brief note of these people when they are first introduced.
I hope humanity will learn from testimonies of life under tyranny such as this. Thank you Anhua Gao.