In Search of My Homeland, A Memoir of A Chinese Labor Camp

In Search of My Homeland, A Memoir of A Chinese Labor Camp

Book - 2009
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Baker & Taylor
A Chinese artist, art critic, and intellectual offers a memoir of his twenty years in and out of a Chinese desert gulag, where 90 percent of his fellow prisoners died in just three years, until his escape to freedom in Hong Kong in 1992, and from there America in 1993, where he now lives in exile in Las Vegas. 20,000 first printing.


The memoir of Er Tai Gao, a chinese artist, art critic, and intellectual who spent twenty years in and out of china's gulag until his escape to freedom in hong kong in 1992 and his defection to america in 1993

In 1957, twenty-two-year-old art teacher Er Tai Gao came to the attention of the Communist Chinese authorities with his groundbreaking essay ?On Beauty,? in which he argued that the nature of what is beautiful is both subjective and individual—a position in direct opposition to government policy. Labeled a ?rightist? by the Mao regime, Gao was sent to a labor camp in China's harsh western desert, where in just three years 90 percent of his fellow prisoners died. It would be the first of the scholar's three convictions for subversive thought and behavior. After his last imprisonment, in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests, Gao and his wife, Maya, escaped to Hong Kong, and in 1993 were offered political asylum by the United States.

Epic in scope, reaching from the depths of work ditches in the Gobi Desert to the heights of the Buddhist heavens depicted on the Dunhuang cave ceilings, In Search of My Homeland is a striking portrayal of Gao's experiences of political persecution, of prisoners pushed to the limits of human endurance, and ultimately of the power of hope. Gao's enormous skill as a writer and insightful observer offers a unique, thoughtful perspective on China in the second half of the twentieth century.

Powerful and elegantly written, Gao's work teaches us that freedom is the most important political stand for an artist, to be able to dissent from the dominant ideology—thereby making beauty, both its creation and perception, its ultimate symbol.

Book News
Er Tai Gao, a painter, art critic, and exiled intellectual has been imprisoned three times for anti-revolutionary writings in China. This moving memoir, pieces of which were written secretly from within a labor camp in the Gobi desert, is the middle segment of a three volume work and the only part available in English. Translated by Robert Dorsett and David Pollard, the account begins with Goa's teaching assignment in Lanzhou in 1955 and tells of the publication of "On Beauty" an essay exploring the subjectivity and individualism of beauty in art, for which he was branded a dissident and sentenced to hard labor at the age of 22. The work describes Gao's experiences in reeducation camps, the Cultural Revolution, and the psychological toll of living under Mao's regime during the 1960s and 1970s. General readers interested in political dissent and twentieth century Chinese history will appreciate this eloquent work. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

Chronicles the author's twenty years in and out of a Chinese desert gulag, escape to Hong Kong, and exile to the United States.

Publisher: New York : Ecco Pr, [2009]
Copyright Date: ©2009
ISBN: 9780060881269
Branch Call Number: 951.0509 GAO GAO
Characteristics: xi, 259 pages ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Gao, Er Tai


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