Last Boat Out of Shanghai by Helen Zia

Last Boat Out of Shanghai

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 precursor to the struggles faced by emigrants today. Shanghai has historically been China's jewel, its richest, most modern and westernized city. The bustling metropolis was home to sophisticated intellectuals, entrepreneurs, and a thriving middle class when Mao's proletarian revolution emerged victoriou...

Details Last Boat Out of Shanghai

TitleLast Boat Out of Shanghai
Release DateJan 22nd, 2019
PublisherBallantine Books
GenreNonfiction, History, Cultural, China, Asia, War, World War II, Autobiography, Memoir, Culture, Society, Politics, Literature, Asian Literature

Reviews Last Boat Out of Shanghai

  • Johanna
    The book Last Boat Out of Shanghai tells the story of four people who faced Mao's Revolution in China and about their experiences. These people all lived in Shanghai, although their lifestyles and experiences were very different. This is an important piece of history to cover, because the experiences of people in Shanghai and the rest of China during World War II and Mao's Revolution are often overlooked, especially in the American context. This ...
  • Steven Z.
    From 1931 onward, the Chinese people were confronted with continuous Japanese aggression, humiliation, occupation, and inhumanity. In Helen Zia’s new book, LAST BOAT OUT OF SHANGHAI: THE EPIC STORY OF THE CHINESE WHO FLED MAO’S REVOLUTION the author seems to begin here story in 1937 when the Japanese launched their invasion of China, however as she develops her story it is important to realize that the Japanese had their eyes on China as far ...
  • Janilyn Kocher
    The Last. Boat Out of Shanghai is an excellent engrossing read. Zia proffers snapshots of four people who escaped from China prior to the onslaught of the Communists. Each story is fascinating and equally gripping. The notes are extensive as well as the bibliography. The author provides a follow up to each person showcased in the book. It's a must read for anyone interested in Chinese or Asian history. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.
  • J. F.
    Book Review: Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution by Helen ZiaAs a bibliophile, I approached this book as falling under the category "...And Now for Something Different", - and what an incredible read!Helen Zia deftly weaves a tale of history, drama and exodus in a tumultuous era clouded by the fog of war. Out of the stories of thousands interviewed, people who were actually there - that so-called "Pa...
  • Just1MoreBook
    I couldn't put it down!
  • Jamie Lai
    This is an incredible read. The author deftly weaves through the real stories of four individuals from the late 1930s during the second Sino-Japanese War and during the aftermath when the KMT and CPC clashed. What is amazing about this book is not only does it give you a great frame of reference of the history and the consequences of war, but the stories are deeply personal and emotional. Mostly told from the point of view of children who grew up...
  • Ben
    As a history buff and someone intrigued by China in particular, I bought the book expecting a matter-of-fact narration of the Chinese diaspora from Shanghai post WWII. What I got was that but so much more! I got sucked into the lives of four then-young people and couldn’t put the book down as I wondered what happened to them as they struggled to survive that tumultuous time in China’s—and the world’s—history. It explained a lot about a ...
  • Bookie
    Last Boat captivated me from the start with its rich depiction of occupied Shanghai's wartime past witnessed through the impacted lives of 4 real protagonists from childhood. I couldn't wait to find out what happened to each of the vastly different individuals: from Bing, a 6 yo girl abandoned by her impoverished Benny, the privileged son a a wealthy police chief and traitor for the Japanese. I was so engrossed in their stories that ...
  • Emily Nelson
    EXCELLENTWhat an amazing story, all true and so well written. If you feel sorry for yourself, read this book, and you'll think twice. It shows how people can survive and thrive, even during the very worst of times. This book makes you CARE about each person's journey. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!
  • Stephen Douglas Rowland
    Undeniably fascinating.
  • Jocelyn
    A highly researched book about a very confusing time in China's history. The Last Boat Out of Shanghai shares the experiences of four very different people who were involved in the events of 1949. Looking at the event from these four perspectives allows the reader to better understand the chaos that influenced people's you stay and maybe get arrested or killed? Do you flee with nothing and start over again? Well written and researc...
  • Han-de Xie
    To be honest, I’m not much of a reader anymore having found it much easier to to turn on my flat screen and stream Netflix, etc., instead. However, I discovered this book when I attended a community event at which the author, Helen Zia, spoke. I didn’t know she was going to talk about her new book; I just had known of her as being famous in the Asian American community for all her work on civil rights and social justice issues and figured she...
  • Sherry Boschert
    Wow. By taking us into the lives of four Shanghai residents who survived famine, the decadence of elites, colonialism, Japanese invasion, World War II, and Mao's revolution in China, Helen Zia personalizes an epic historical tale. I learned so much about the politics and characteristics of Shanghainese compared with the rest of China and came to care about the characters. I was blown away by the scale of the struggles she describes -- the first b...
  • Ben Zee
    A most memorable book that I have read. It brings to life the tragic and tumultuous history of China during World War II Japanese invasion, the civil war between the Nationalist and Communist, and the ultimate Communist takeover resulting in an exodus of millions from China. Helen Zia does this by telling the stories of the lives of four children growing up in that era in Shanghai. Their stories mirror the stories told by my parents about their l...
  • Patricia
    Helen Zia has written a classic. She follows four Chinese citizens and their families who experienced the horrors of 20th century China. We share their suffering under the cruel and murderous occupation by Japan, the savage war between the Communists and the Nationalists after WWII, and the victory of Mao. The misery of the inept Communist government and Mao's late life mental disturbance brought the usual Communist extremes that crushed and debi...
  • Ruby Schuberg
    A nonfiction account of the lives and struggles of four people caught up in the changing world in Shanghai China from the 1930s to the 1950s. It reads like a novel as we follow these men and women from their diverse childhoods to adulthood. The class struggles and cultural differences propel these people through the significant stages of Chinese history of Japanese occupation, European domination, WWll, revolution and relations with the American ...
  • Mary Ann
    This book relates the experiences of four young people in Shanghai in the years leading up to and immediately following WWII. It provides a fascinating look into what it was like to grow up in a country torn by war and division. It provided what many of the histories of the period cannot -- the intense human perspective. What was equally compelling is the incredible challenges these individuals faced coming to America. Interesting, too, is that e...
  • Candace
    Wow -- I haven't found a book that I couldn't put down (a 400+ page book, to boot) in a very long time. This is a gripping narrative based on real-life interviews of four individuals who faced the Japanese occupation of Shanghai in the late 1940s and the mass exodus from the city during the Cultural Revolution. I learned so much about Chinese regionalism -- especially the larger cultural identity of Shanghai in comparison to other cities such as ...
  • Eileen Smith
    This gives a behind-the-curtain look at China from 1930’s through the defeat of the Nationalists and rise of Communists. Sounds dry?...not at all. The personal stories are the frame for history and culture. Each one quite different, but each contributing to a view of the very complex landscape of the Cultural Revolution. We know much of Europe during and after WWII but little of Asia’s upheaval. Here is a story of the heroic and the hedonisti...
  • Karen
    I loved this book and couldn't put it down. It is a story of resiliency and survival during the period from 1937-1957 in China. The research and details the author provides about China and the countries/factions wanting control appears exhaustive and thorough. I learned much about this part of the world and about immigrants to the US of any nationality. It's a long book, 430 pages, but well worth the read.
  • Marleen
    The fascinating story of how the political upheaval in China resulted in waves of refugees leaving or escaping for a variety of reasons. After the Japanese invaded China, they took control. They were replaced by the Nationalists who were ousted by the Communists. People who never wanted to leave China found themselves in Hong Kong, Taiwan, or the United States. Everyone had a story of abandonment or loss. Helen Zia has profiled four immigrants st...
  • Yvonne
    Absolutely Mesmerizing This book is extremely well researched, but it moves the reader along turning each page with anticipation like a mystery story. It is a truly great story that could become a classic one day, when those who choose to bestow such acolaids could look past the color curtain.
  • John Johnson
    An absolutely amazing story of young children struggling through turbulent years under occupation and political turmoil. Their strong will to push forward with their lives in the most adverse situations has been well written — compiling story!!
  • Michele
    Totally loved this book!
  • John P. Davidson
    Riveting, true stories of four people and their attempts to leave Shanghai during China's Communist revolution in 1949. Zia has a gift for storytelling; I recommend this wholeheartedly.
  • Diane
    The harrowing non-fiction story of an era of Chinese history that I knew very little about. Told from the viewpoint of four individuals who lived during the time of Chiang Kai Shek and Chairman Mao.