Sunday, March 22, 2009

To the Edge of the Sky: A Story of Love, Betrayal, Suffering, and the Strength of Human Courage

Before you read on, we would like to remind you of our current Book Lovers Giveaway. Also, submit your review of this book and we will send you a free gift if we publish it on this blog.

Book Description From To the Edge of the Sky is the harrowing account of a remarkable woman's life in communist China—a tale of human courage in the face of shocking inhumanity and hardship. Anhua Gao, her name means Tranquil Flower, was born in 1949, the year that Mao Tse Tung declared the foundation of the People's Republic of China. It was a turning point in Chinese history, the first time in more than a century that peace had come to China. After many horrific battles between the Japanese and the Chinese, and after many years of civil war between Mao's Communists and Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang, a new China was born. To The Edge of the Sky is, like Jung Chang's Wild Swans, an inspiring and heartrending story of life under communist rule and, at the same time, a compelling and detailed history of China's political upheaval through the twentieth century.
Gao's early childhood is idyllic—both of her parents are highly respected workers in the Communist army and the family lives in comfort, with many privileges—but by the time Anhua is eleven both are dead—her father of bone cancer, her mother from heart failure—and their reputation proves a fragile shield from the horrors of communist China. With an assured and deliberate voice, and from the perspective of her new and hard won safety of a new life in Britain (her mother once pointed out the island country to her on a Chinese world map, located on the far left "on the edge of the sky"), Gao interweaves a picture of calamitous Mao-ist policies with her own story of shocking family betrayal, cruel imprisonment, and bureaucratic absurdity.
Despite the appalling depths of Gao's suffering and deprivation, To the Edge of the Sky remains remarkably free of bitterness or rancor. But Gao's outrage at the social injustices of the State and her compassion for those who fell victim to it is a sober reminder of the value of freedom and all that comes with it. Most of all, this is the story of a woman who, against unbelievable odds, survived to find a happiness she had not dared hope for. To the Edge of the Sky is a powerful and evocative autobiography to read and recommend.

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