• Last Boat Out of Shanghai

  • The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution
  • By: Helen Zia
  • Narrated by: Nancy Wu
  • Length: 17 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Asia
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (260 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

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.

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 victorious from the long civil war. Terrified of the horrors the Communists would wreak upon their lives, citizens of Shanghai who could afford to fled in every direction. 

Benny, who as a teenager became the unwilling heir to his father's dark wartime legacy, must decide either to escape to Hong Kong or navigate the intricacies of a newly Communist China. The resolute Annuo, forced to flee her home with her father, a defeated Nationalist official, becomes an unwelcome exile in Taiwan. The financially strapped Ho fights deportation from the US in order to continue his studies while his family struggles at home. And Bing, given away by her poor parents, faces the prospect of a new life among strangers in America. The lives of these men and women are marvelously portrayed, revealing the dignity and triumph of personal survival.

©2019 Helen Zia (P)2019 Tantor

Critic Reviews

“The dramatic story of four young people who were among the thousands fleeing China after 1949's Communist revolution. Eye-opening.” (People)

What listeners say about Last Boat Out of Shanghai

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Incredibly enlightening!!

Outstanding book!! I didn’t want it to end

As the husband of a Shanghai woman who spent 7 years in the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, I particularly appreciated learning more about this time in history.

8 people found this helpful

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Great book, poor performance

The book itself is an engaging read and I highly recommend it! Unfortunately, the audio performance falls short. Some sections have obviously been re-recorded, and the quality during those sections is incredibly poor - the voice is distorted and there is a lot of background noise. If the stories weren’t so great, this alone would have stopped me from finishing the book!

8 people found this helpful

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Great Book for Reflection

Those Trump supporters should read this book.
And those extreme leftists should read this book and realized what damages they have done to this country.

3 people found this helpful

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Very interesting!

It was incredibly interesting, including because these people had such different life experiences. I've lived in Shanghai for a short while, but I never completely understood why the rest of Mainland China had certain stereotypes about Shanghainese. This book emphasized that point very well and drew out a lot of detail. This detail paints an accurate picture of those who were just trying to get by. I love all the people in this book for different reasons. The narrator did a wonderful job as well, her voice was nice and calming. Although, there are a few parts which were edited in afterwards. Oh well! No big deal.

3 people found this helpful

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WONDERFUL!

I hadn't heard of this book among my many "reading friends" so didn't expect the wonderful experience. It's the best book I've listened to since "Warmth of Other Suns." And similar to Warmth of Other Suns, I learned history in a meaningful way and connected to all the characters! How many other gems are around that I'm missing? Thank you Helen Zia and Nancy Wu for this a book I'll listen to over and over.

3 people found this helpful

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  • DP
  • 09-07-19

A Window Into Shanghai's Recent History

As a second generation Chinese, and more specifically Shanghainese, this book provided insights into the history of my family and those times and stories no-one would talk about.

3 people found this helpful

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survival

A very complex weaving of the lives of Chinese immigrants during the Japanese invasion of China, world war II, China 's civil war, communism, American immigration policies, Mccarthyism and all the road blocks imposed on the human desire to be safe from harm and free to pursue those ideals so eloquently spelled out in the constitution of the United States. This book is a must read not only for all those who have roots that germinated in China, but to all who cherish and believe in the ideals of the American constitution. The stories of the struggles in the lives mentioned in this book will not be easy to listen to, but will definitely make you appreciate where we are today and the struggles that are still ongoing.

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a story all Americans should read

WIth the many problems we have in USA today. We are still blessed to have a free press and many people who still care about truth, character and caring about your neighbor.

5 people found this helpful

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excellent

It is very well written and interesting. It held my attention to end. I highly recommed.

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Amazing!

A very heartfelt and detailed journey through history by those who lived it. I loved it!

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  • Clare Ong
  • 01-05-20

An education

This book reveals an insight into the turmoil suffered by the Chinese both within and outside of China.My in laws families escaped to Indonesia so I was very interested to hear this. I hope one day that someone will also write about experiences in the other Chinese refugee countries .