Shanghai Acrobat

Shanghai Acrobat

A True Story of Courage and Perseverance from Revolutionary China

Jingjing Xue


  • Description
  • Author
  • Info
  • Reviews


Proven appeal of subject: Insider stories from Communist China have proven to amass wide appeal and continue to sell. The closest comps thematically, also about children plucked to become artists in Communist China, Mao’s Last Dancer and Red Azalea, respectively scan at 60,000 copies (with 200 YTD of the 2006 edition) and 40,000 copies (with 175 YTD of the 2005 edition). Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution (2018) scans at 260,000; Life and Death in Shanghai scans at 34,000 (with 600 YTD of its 2010 edition).

Exquisite writing: Precise prose and lyrical description set this book apart from other memoirs. Like William Finnegan, whose surfing memoir Barbarian Days scans at 220,000 (10,100 YTD) and Haruki Murakami, whose meditation on running What I Talk About When I Talk About Running scans at 180,000 (4,800 YTD), Xue writes artfully about his sporting experiences and athletic maneuvers, meeting the page with the same skill and grace as his acrobatics.

China is in the headlines and book provides historical, first-person context to its complicated politics: China is a hot-button political topic after a year of tumultuous reporting from Wuhan, Hong Kong, and the tech sector. This vivid firsthand account provides insight into the superpower’s cultural, social, and political past.

Expert author and inside look at beloved art form: Very little has been written about the much-romanticized world of circus art. Taschen’s The Circus: 1870s–1950s, an illustrated volume, scans at 6300 copies (most from its $70 edition), Barnum: An American Life (08/2019) scans at 5000 (720 YTD). The author was China’s top performer and the world’s best handstand performer during a pivotal time in the history of circus arts. Since then, he’s coached young people to become award-winning performers on an international stage. Here he gives a compelling introduction to the art form and highlights the importance of discipline for excelling in any field.

Antique photographs: Book is complete with gripping black-and-white images displaying Communist China, intense acrobatic feats, elegant performers, and world leaders.

China is one of the most heavily visited nations in the world by Americans: In 2018, 2.5 million Americans visited China, proving the popularity of the historically and culturally rich nation and the potentially huge market for China-related stories.


Jingjing Xue:

Jingjing Xue grew up in China and graduated from the Acrobatic School of Shanghai in 1961. From 1961 to 1987, he was a star performer with the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe and was considered one of China’s best acrobats and one of the world’s top performers in the art of the handstand. Jingjing also performed around the world with the Shanghai Circus, including for the likes of President Richard Nixon, President Jimmy Carter, and the king of Cambodia. In 1979 he began teaching performers in the troupe his advanced skills; teaching one student to win the championship of the 10th World Tomorrow Acrobatic Competition in Paris for his Juggling with Benches show and another to win Gold at the English Voyage Cup and Gold at the Stunt Programmes Competition in London. In the 1980s Jingjing became the instructor and coach of the troupe and was responsible for designing training programs at the school. He conducted valuable research into acrobatic training theories, publishing “How to Train Young Acrobats,&rdquo “Training of Handstand,” and “Reform in Acrobatic Training,” which contributed to improvements in acrobatic training programs in China. In the 1990s Jingjing left China for Australia. He worked at the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne, Australia, from its inception in 1999 through 2017. He lives in Melbourne.