Why this book?
Decadent Old Shanghai was never going to survive a Communist takeover. It wasn’t easy to leave—in her family, my mother was told she was the lucky one, and so was the mother of author Helen Zia. An accomplished journalist, Zia masterfully captures what it was like for four young people—including her mother—to make the wrenching decision to leave their homes for places unknown, the chaos and distress of boarding that fabled “last boat” out of Shanghai, and what came after. The core of the story unfolds through the authentic accounts of the main characters Benny, Annuo, Bing, and Ho. Additionally, Zia uses detailed research and extensive interviews with hundreds of émigrés from all strata of Shanghai society, bringing to life this last of a generation to embark on a largely forgotten mass exodus.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
The dramatic real life stories of four young people caught up in the mass exodus of Shanghai in the wake of China’s 1949 Communist revolution—a heartrending precursor to the struggles faced by emigrants today.
“A true page-turner . . . [Helen] Zia has proven once again that history is something that happens to real people.”—New York Times bestselling author Lisa See
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR AND THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR • FINALIST FOR THE PEN/JACQUELINE BOGRAD WELD AWARD FOR BIOGRAPHY
Shanghai has historically been China’s jewel, its richest, most modern and westernized city.…