Mao's Last Dancer

Li, Cunxin

Book - 2005
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Mao's Last Dancer
"From a desperately poor village in northeast China, to a career that took him across the world, this is the incredible story of Li Cunxin -- a story that almost vanished, like so many other peasants' lives, amid revolution and chaos. At age eleven, Li was chosen by Madame Mao's cultural delegates to be taken from his rural home and brought to Beijing, where he would study ballet. In 1979, the young dancer arrived in Texas as part of a cultural exchange, wary of class enemies and prepared to "serve glorious communism." It didn't take long for him to fall in love with America--and with an American woman. Two years later, through a series of events worthy of the most exciting cloak-and-dagger fiction, he defected to the United States, where he quickly became known as one of the greatest ballet dancers in the world. This is the remarkable story of his journey--a heartening rags-to-riches story [and] a fascinating glimpse into the history of Chinese-U.S. relations and the dissolution of the Communist ideal in the life of one fortunate individual."--From p. [4] of cover.

Publisher: New York : Berkley Books, 2005, c2003
Edition: Berkley trade pbk. ed
ISBN: 9780425201336
Branch Call Number: 792.8092 L693m 2005
Characteristics: xvii, 451 p., [8] p. of plates :,ill., geneal. table ;,23 cm


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Aug 25, 2014

Loved it. Truly fascinating story about a young boy who comes from communist China and becomes the world star.

Aug 02, 2014
  • klickitatjanice rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

An easy and quick read. Fascinating first-hand account of surviving Mao's regime as seen through the eyes of a peasant's son. The opportunity through dance that eventually led to his freedom made the story even more interesting.

Dec 06, 2013
  • oboechica88 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

unxin's insight into communist China as well as into the art of dance makes for an absolutely compelling read.I had originally seen the movie based on this book when it came out a couple years ago (watch it - it will be well worth your while. Not only is the story great - which we'll get to here - but the script and acting were very good and the dancing was phenomenal) and have been waiting anxiously to get my hands on the book, which I was FINALLY able to do a couple months ago.

I thought this story was amazing - to read how hard a person can push themselves to succeed and to see how far a human can come - it's really just mind boggling. The writing is so descriptive, and the way everything is described is so foreign to everything I have experienced in life. It is an absolute delight to read how Cunxin describes the world. Even if you are not into nonfiction (like me) I highly recommend you read this book just so you can understand even a little of what goes on in some countries. I would also recommend you watch the movie, which is a beautiful work of art. It doesn't even matter which order you do either - they are both amazing stories. For the full review, head to my blog at OboeChica Books (so long and thanks for all the fish).

Apr 03, 2013
  • panda8051 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A very good book. Beautifully written. A book for all age groups!

Dec 14, 2012

I loved this book! I think any age group would enjoy it!
I loved how it gave such a clear insight to China, during Mao's reign.
It was really fascinating!

Jun 17, 2012

Wow. This was a really beautiful and inspiring story! My teacher actually lent it to me and I just got around to reading it (so I can return it) but I'm so glad I did! I found that the beginning was a bit slow, but that was mainly to introduce the setting, family etc. Once he got into the ballet academy, I was truly hooked. I haven't actually finished it yet (almost there!) but am really excited to read the ending to this. This book really opened my eyes to the world: the poverty, the politics and the different forms of art.

Mar 17, 2012
  • MINKA2121 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I loved the book and movie . Elena A.

Mar 17, 2012
  • mprimom rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

What a great book, beautiful story. I recommend this book ! Li really have you hook on, cannot put it down. One of the best in a long time.

Feb 16, 2011
  • Sue2 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed the movie first, then wanted to read the book. The book has something for the athletic, artistic, and politically minded reader. It was very inspiring. I recommend it.

Nov 06, 2010
  • grace321 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I originally reserved this "book" thinking it was the DVD of a trailer I had seen. I decided to read the book when it came in and found an amazing story. I don't see how a movie would be able to tell Li Cunxin story and give the same feel as the book. The way Li wrote his story I felt I was there with him. It was an eye opener into the Chinese culture.

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Apr 03, 2013
  • panda8051 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

panda8051 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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