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On the evening of March 17, 1959, as the people of Tibet braced for a violent power grab by Chinese occupiers—one that would forever wipe out any vestige of national sovereignty—the twenty-four-year-old Dalai Lama, Tibet’s political and spiritual leader, contemplated the impossible. The task before him was immense: to slip past a cordon of crack Chinese troops ringing his On the evening of March 17, 1959, as the people of Tibet braced for a violent power grab by Chinese occupiers—one that would forever wipe out any vestige of national sovereignty—the twenty-four-year-old Dalai Lama, Tibet’s political and spiritual leader, contemplated the impossible. The task before him was immense: to slip past a cordon of crack Chinese troops ringing his summer palace and, with an escort of 300, journey across the highest terrain in the world and over treacherous Himalayan passes to freedom—one step ahead of pursuing Chinese soldiers. Mao Zedung, China’s ruthless Communist dictator, had pinned his hopes for total Tibetan submission on controlling the impressionable Dalai Lama. So beloved was the young ruler—so identified with his country’s essence—that for him to escape might mean perpetual resistance from a population unwilling to tolerate an increasingly brutal occupation. The Dalai Lama’s minders sent word to the Tibetan rebels and CIA-trained guerrillas who waited on the route: His Holiness must escape—at all costs. In many ways, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was unprepared for the epic journey awaiting him. Twenty-two years earlier, government search parties, guided by prophecies and omens, had arrived at the boy’s humble peasant home and subjected the two-year-old to a series of tests. After being declared the reincarnation of Tibet’s previous ruler, the boy was brought to Lhasa to learn the secrets of Buddhism and the ways of ultimate power. Forced in the ensuing two decades to cope with aching loneliness and often stifling ritual—and compelled to suppress his mischievous personality—Gyatso eventually proved himself a capable leader. But no previous Dalai Lama had ever taken on a million Communist Chinese soldiers bent on stamping out Tibetan freedom. To keep his country’s dream of independence alive by means of a government in exile, the young ruler would not only have to brave battalions of enemy soldiers and the whiteout conditions waiting on the slopes of the Himalayas’ highest peaks, he’d have to overcome a different type of blindness: the naïveté intrinsic to his sheltered palace life and his position as leader of a people who considered violence deeply taboo. His mind made up, the young Dalai Lama set off on his audacious journey to India while behind him a Chinese army rolled over Lhasa, its advance hunter patrols in fierce pursuit of the man they most coveted. The 14th’s escape was an act of daring and defiance that represented Tibet’s last hope, and so the world watched, transfixed, as the gentle monk’s journey unfolded. Emotionally powerful and irresistibly page-turning, Escape from the Land of Snows is simultaneously a portrait of the inhabitants of a spiritual nation forced to take up arms in defense of their ideals, and the saga of an initially childlike ruler who at first wore his monk’s robes uncomfortably but was ultimately transformed by his escape into the towering figure the world knows today—a charismatic champion of free thinking and universal compassion.


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On the evening of March 17, 1959, as the people of Tibet braced for a violent power grab by Chinese occupiers—one that would forever wipe out any vestige of national sovereignty—the twenty-four-year-old Dalai Lama, Tibet’s political and spiritual leader, contemplated the impossible. The task before him was immense: to slip past a cordon of crack Chinese troops ringing his On the evening of March 17, 1959, as the people of Tibet braced for a violent power grab by Chinese occupiers—one that would forever wipe out any vestige of national sovereignty—the twenty-four-year-old Dalai Lama, Tibet’s political and spiritual leader, contemplated the impossible. The task before him was immense: to slip past a cordon of crack Chinese troops ringing his summer palace and, with an escort of 300, journey across the highest terrain in the world and over treacherous Himalayan passes to freedom—one step ahead of pursuing Chinese soldiers. Mao Zedung, China’s ruthless Communist dictator, had pinned his hopes for total Tibetan submission on controlling the impressionable Dalai Lama. So beloved was the young ruler—so identified with his country’s essence—that for him to escape might mean perpetual resistance from a population unwilling to tolerate an increasingly brutal occupation. The Dalai Lama’s minders sent word to the Tibetan rebels and CIA-trained guerrillas who waited on the route: His Holiness must escape—at all costs. In many ways, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was unprepared for the epic journey awaiting him. Twenty-two years earlier, government search parties, guided by prophecies and omens, had arrived at the boy’s humble peasant home and subjected the two-year-old to a series of tests. After being declared the reincarnation of Tibet’s previous ruler, the boy was brought to Lhasa to learn the secrets of Buddhism and the ways of ultimate power. Forced in the ensuing two decades to cope with aching loneliness and often stifling ritual—and compelled to suppress his mischievous personality—Gyatso eventually proved himself a capable leader. But no previous Dalai Lama had ever taken on a million Communist Chinese soldiers bent on stamping out Tibetan freedom. To keep his country’s dream of independence alive by means of a government in exile, the young ruler would not only have to brave battalions of enemy soldiers and the whiteout conditions waiting on the slopes of the Himalayas’ highest peaks, he’d have to overcome a different type of blindness: the naïveté intrinsic to his sheltered palace life and his position as leader of a people who considered violence deeply taboo. His mind made up, the young Dalai Lama set off on his audacious journey to India while behind him a Chinese army rolled over Lhasa, its advance hunter patrols in fierce pursuit of the man they most coveted. The 14th’s escape was an act of daring and defiance that represented Tibet’s last hope, and so the world watched, transfixed, as the gentle monk’s journey unfolded. Emotionally powerful and irresistibly page-turning, Escape from the Land of Snows is simultaneously a portrait of the inhabitants of a spiritual nation forced to take up arms in defense of their ideals, and the saga of an initially childlike ruler who at first wore his monk’s robes uncomfortably but was ultimately transformed by his escape into the towering figure the world knows today—a charismatic champion of free thinking and universal compassion.

30 review for Escape from the Land of Snows: The Young Dalai Lama's Harrowing Flight to Freedom and the Making of a Spiritual Hero

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    "Lhasa exists around an absence." Stephan Talty, Epilogue, Escape from the Land of Snows This amazing story reads like a thriller! It personalizes the tragedy of the fall and absorption of Tibet by the Chinese and the enduring spirit of the Tibetan people. "Tibet in 1959 was a rumor of a nation, a shadow on the world's collective memory. Off limits to foreigners for decades, it was the object of a romantic longing that had only intensified during the gray dreary confrontations of the Cold War. Tibe "Lhasa exists around an absence." Stephan Talty, Epilogue, Escape from the Land of Snows This amazing story reads like a thriller! It personalizes the tragedy of the fall and absorption of Tibet by the Chinese and the enduring spirit of the Tibetan people. "Tibet in 1959 was a rumor of a nation, a shadow on the world's collective memory. Off limits to foreigners for decades, it was the object of a romantic longing that had only intensified during the gray dreary confrontations of the Cold War. Tibet was removed not only in space, hidden behind the almost inaccessible peaks of the Himalayas but in time." "Tibet was going through a remarkable transformation. It was becoming famous just as it ceased to exist. As the PLA(*) asserted control, Tibet was slowly becoming not a physical place with set borders and lakes and mountains but a cause, a place of the mind. And this was due mostly to the figure of the Dalai Lama, to the romance and tragedy that surrounded the story of a young ruler driven from his throne by the hated Communists." *Chinese People's Liberation Army Stephan Talty, Escape from the Land of Snows ** Read by Shishir Kurup app 9 hrs

  2. 4 out of 5

    Strona po stronie

    The beginning is written in a weirdly clumsy way, but the rest is good - I liked Talty's no nonsense writing style. I found this book very interesting, mainly because it presents different cultures, extremely divergent ways of thinking. It also presents human cruelty, which is depressing, but still - very engaging and thought-provoking. The beginning is written in a weirdly clumsy way, but the rest is good - I liked Talty's no nonsense writing style. I found this book very interesting, mainly because it presents different cultures, extremely divergent ways of thinking. It also presents human cruelty, which is depressing, but still - very engaging and thought-provoking.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karin Mika

    True account of the escape of the Dalai Lama from Tibet after it was invaded (and taken over) by China. The insight into the traditions of Buddhism were fascinating as was the depiction of the Dalai Lama as a pretty amazing human being and political figure. The book is actually pretty even-handed. Under Mao, China didn't simply annex Tibet, but annexed it as part of what it believed fell within traditional Chinese borders. However, it is always tough to annex people who do not feel they are with True account of the escape of the Dalai Lama from Tibet after it was invaded (and taken over) by China. The insight into the traditions of Buddhism were fascinating as was the depiction of the Dalai Lama as a pretty amazing human being and political figure. The book is actually pretty even-handed. Under Mao, China didn't simply annex Tibet, but annexed it as part of what it believed fell within traditional Chinese borders. However, it is always tough to annex people who do not feel they are within a land that is entitled to be annexed. The Tibetans also aren't depicted as non-violent cultural saints. They lived in a remote land, did not care for foreigners, and had their share of corruption in the combined church/state government. Their non-violent mindset came from isolation and adherence to religious tradition as much as anything else. The book described how the Dalai Lamas attempted to modernize Tibet so that they were more in touch with the world as it existed,while also shedding some of their antiquated ceremonies and traditions. After the Dalai Lama left Tibet, he set up an external Tibetan government and became a major political figure representing the conviction of all conquered and oppressed people. It was more his personality that became famous because he is a bright, sociable, peaceful sort who would like to see all disputes in the world settled by compromise and peaceful discussion. He is a champion of the underdog, and believes in gender equality, as well as a separation of church and state. How many living gods would promote that voluntarily? It is unclear what the future of Tibet is. Under Mao, there was religious persecution and the standard communist torture and imprisonment of traitors. However, after the death of Mao, Tibet has a certain type of independence, and the Chinese have, in fact, poured a lot of money into modernize the country. However, there are still elements of of persecution, as well as some mistreatment as many Tibetans feel they are part of an underclass not able to speak or live as they truly feel. Many want to settle for nothing less than an entirely free Tibet with the Dalai Lama restored to his "rightful" place. The book is not entirely clear what, exactly, the Dalai Lama would settle for in terms of a return to Tibet. He seems willing to accept a Chinese Tibet on par with Mongolia, but wants assurances of equal rights, no religious persecution, and a respect of the Tibetan culture. The Dalai Lama has both a web page and a Facebook page where he answers questions.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    The history of Tibet and its relationship with China is outlined in this account of the Dalai Lama’s exile during the uprising in 1959. While the writing wasn’t exceptional, the subject was well researched and gave a good background of the political climate of the region at the time. China asserted its authority over Tibet, but there was resistance by the deeply religious people who did not want to be ruled by communists despite the progress and modernization they brought to the isolated nation. The history of Tibet and its relationship with China is outlined in this account of the Dalai Lama’s exile during the uprising in 1959. While the writing wasn’t exceptional, the subject was well researched and gave a good background of the political climate of the region at the time. China asserted its authority over Tibet, but there was resistance by the deeply religious people who did not want to be ruled by communists despite the progress and modernization they brought to the isolated nation. The unrest that lead to full out rebellion in Lhasa in 1959 resulted in the slaughter of thousands of innocent Tibetans and the exile of the Dalai Lama to India. Prior to reading this, I was unaware of the CIA’s role in attempting to suppress communism by aiding the rebels in Tibet. There were numerous interviews and quotes from participants in the uprising, monks and civilians, individuals who were working with the Americans, and the Dalai Lama and his family. I thought the epilogue was especially effective. The author concludes the book with his own narrative of his trip to Lhasa fifty years after the fateful date that demoralized Tibet. Talty illustrated the paranoia among the Tibetans, especially in the presence of so many Han Chinese and PLA troops. More than anything, though, there was a pervading sadness among the people at the absence of the Dalai Lama. Though these events helped bring awareness to Tibet’s plight and made His Holiness an international figure, the despondency of the Tibetans is palpable and unfortunate. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sherrill

    This is an easy read and exciting, too, but that is not to say it lacks deep research or avoids the complexity of China-Tibet relations and Tibetan history and culture. The author does an excellent job showing the good and the bad. He does not romanticize Tibet. There are many interesting aspects to this story and one for me was learning about the CIA’s involvement with the rebels in the 1950s. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Tibet and/or the suppression of freedom.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Escape from the Land of Snows: The Young Dalai Lama's Harrowing Flight to Freedom and the Making of a Spiritual Hero is a biography of His Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. Stephan Talty, a journalist and author, wrote this biography. This book serves as an entry (A character "on the run") in The 52 Book Challenge 2021. It was pure happenstance that I saw a program listing the top ten greatest escapes in history that I remember the criterion of this entry and search for a book a Escape from the Land of Snows: The Young Dalai Lama's Harrowing Flight to Freedom and the Making of a Spiritual Hero is a biography of His Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. Stephan Talty, a journalist and author, wrote this biography. This book serves as an entry (A character "on the run") in The 52 Book Challenge 2021. It was pure happenstance that I saw a program listing the top ten greatest escapes in history that I remember the criterion of this entry and search for a book about the Dalai Lama’s escape from China and found this biography. The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the current Dalai Lama, the highest spiritual leader of Tibet, and considered a living Bodhisattva, an emanation of Avalokiteśvara. The Dalai Lamas are also leaders of the Gelug School, which is the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism and was formally headed by the Ganden Tripas. Talty skillfully moves between protests in Lhasa and the Dalai Lama's escape toward the border, tracing stories of the many people involved. Adding complexity to this narrative are details about CIA support of Tibetans fighting against the Chinese regime, the U.S. role in securing permission for the Dalai Lama's entry into India, and the worldwide media frenzy that shaped the public's perceptions of Tibet. Escape from the Land of Snows: The Young Dalai Lama's Harrowing Flight to Freedom and the Making of a Spiritual Hero is written rather well. Drawing from written eyewitness accounts and interviews with survivors, Talty describes the events in 1959 that irrevocably altered the future of Tibet. Witness reports include those of the Dalai Lama's mother and brothers, rebels and refugees, members of the CIA's Tibetan Task Force, and former prisoners of the Chinese. From these multiple voices, Talty has woven a vivid picture of a dangerous journey and a country in crisis. All in all, Escape from the Land of Snows: The Young Dalai Lama's Harrowing Flight to Freedom and the Making of a Spiritual Hero is a great read about an extraordinary escape.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robyn Hall

    This book was a little disappointing. Much more political than I expected. At first he focused more on the Dalai Lama, his early life, etc. and I really liked that part. And his initial escape was interesting but the ongoing conflict was terrible, but I got pretty bored with it by the end. I love reading about the Dalai Lama. I think he's amazing but the war between China and Tibet - too much detail... Nothing really offensive and I did learn some things so I'm not sorry I read it, but I can't re This book was a little disappointing. Much more political than I expected. At first he focused more on the Dalai Lama, his early life, etc. and I really liked that part. And his initial escape was interesting but the ongoing conflict was terrible, but I got pretty bored with it by the end. I love reading about the Dalai Lama. I think he's amazing but the war between China and Tibet - too much detail... Nothing really offensive and I did learn some things so I'm not sorry I read it, but I can't really recommend it... Took me a long time to get through it because I kept putting it down, being distracted by covid life and family..

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mike Pollack

    A very good book about a time, place and people that I knew little about. I found the story of the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the eventual uprising and the Dalai Lama’s escape to be quite captivating. It would have been nice if there were some historical and/or modern day images included in the book for the key figures of places. All in all, a good book and I look forward to reading more about Tibet.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mark "Lefty" Holencik

    Very informative about how the Dalai Lama was chosen. Most of his beliefs he was born with. His schooling and training just helped to develop them. The escape to India was the last part of his training which got him ready to be a world figure. Really amazing how much respect Tibetan's have for the Dalai Lama, before, during, and after the escape to India. Very informative about how the Dalai Lama was chosen. Most of his beliefs he was born with. His schooling and training just helped to develop them. The escape to India was the last part of his training which got him ready to be a world figure. Really amazing how much respect Tibetan's have for the Dalai Lama, before, during, and after the escape to India.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Oliver

    Never knew anything about Tibet; nothing about the climate, the people, nor the Chinese takeover. If we're not careful, the Chinese will take over our way of life as well. They are continuing their ambition to control the world with Hong Kong right now. An excellent read with insights to what people, as a group, will do when they believe in something greater than they are. Never knew anything about Tibet; nothing about the climate, the people, nor the Chinese takeover. If we're not careful, the Chinese will take over our way of life as well. They are continuing their ambition to control the world with Hong Kong right now. An excellent read with insights to what people, as a group, will do when they believe in something greater than they are.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Aubrey Stapp

    Really good read, informative, interesting, didn't get bogged down in the tin minutiae of history like some historical nonficts do, I'd definitely recommend. Really good read, informative, interesting, didn't get bogged down in the tin minutiae of history like some historical nonficts do, I'd definitely recommend.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Afsha Makhani Williams

    Very good. I had to put it down at times because I was so saddened by it at times but overall very good and insightful.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gaby

    Before reading Escape from the Land of Snows, I had a vague, general understanding of Tibet and the Dalai Lama. I knew Tibet had been invaded by China, its territory is protected by the mountain ranges above Nepal (and Mt. Everest), and that it is a nation of Buddhists and pacifists. I'd seen various movies/books that depicted the selection of the Dalai Lama and about Tibet was aware that much poetic license had been taken - James Hilton's Shangri-La, Tintin in Tibet, Little Buddha, Seven Years Before reading Escape from the Land of Snows, I had a vague, general understanding of Tibet and the Dalai Lama. I knew Tibet had been invaded by China, its territory is protected by the mountain ranges above Nepal (and Mt. Everest), and that it is a nation of Buddhists and pacifists. I'd seen various movies/books that depicted the selection of the Dalai Lama and about Tibet was aware that much poetic license had been taken - James Hilton's Shangri-La, Tintin in Tibet, Little Buddha, Seven Years in Tibet. Escape from the Land of Snows deftly combines a glimpse into the Dalai Lama's personal history with the historical and political events that have shaped Tibet. We learn how the Dalai Lama is selected; from the process of selection to the conditions that must be fulfilled - this is explained in its sociocultural and political context. Stephen Talty makes the Dalai Lama come alive both as the political, religious and cultural figure that he is and on a personal level. Talty starts in 1935 with the passing of previous Dalai Lama and the search for his successor. I'd had all sorts of Hollywood misconceptions as to the method of finding the successor and found the detailed description fascinating. We learn the details of the Dalai Lama's life from the moment that he was "found"- in Amdo, an obscure village 1,000 miles (2 months' travel) from the capital Lhasa. I was fascinated by the specific ways in which the monks are able to identify and confirm the identity of the next Dalai Lama. We learn how the three year old boy was raised, tutored, and shaped to become Tibet's spiritual leader. Separated from his family with the exception of his younger brothers - one of whom was disciplined when the Dalai Lama misbehaved - the new Dalai Lama is raised in the traditional way by elderly monks. Talty recounts what it was like for the Dalai Lama as a lonely young boy raised by monks in the palace in Lhasa and revered by the Tibetan people. As I read about his acts of generosity and mercy, such as releasing the inmates from the nearby prison, it was clear that the Dalai Lama sees the world very differently. We learn how his trusting and generous nature - his celebration of the good in others - played out in the negotiations with Mao and the People's Republic of China. Mao's desire to reintegrate Tibet into China and the increasing ruthlessness of China's foreign policy resulted in heartbreaking attacks on Tibetan monks, citizens, and the Tibetan government. As Talty shares the harrowing details of those last days and of the Dalai Lama's escape from Lhasa during those turbulent days, we see the strength of the Dalai Lama's love for his country and his people and just how much he means to Tibet and the Tibetan people. Escape from the Land of Snows: The Young Dalai Lama's Harrowing Flight to Freedom and the Making of a Spiritual Hero is more than an engrossing read, it's a story that needs to be shared. ISBN-10: 9780307460950 - Hardcover Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (January 18, 2011), 320 pages. Review copy acquired through the Amazon Vine program.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Karraker

    This was a real page turner that was hard to put down. I remember when the movie Seven Years in Tibet came out and what am impact it made on the the youth. Seems like everyone was passing out literature about Tibet and the oppression by the Chinese, and bumper stickers appeared everywhere, saying Free Tibet. So it was informative to read more about those events. interesting how the search committee had a vision which led them to find this young child and that the child knew their names, was ab This was a real page turner that was hard to put down. I remember when the movie Seven Years in Tibet came out and what am impact it made on the the youth. Seems like everyone was passing out literature about Tibet and the oppression by the Chinese, and bumper stickers appeared everywhere, saying Free Tibet. So it was informative to read more about those events. interesting how the search committee had a vision which led them to find this young child and that the child knew their names, was able to correctly ID tidy some objects that he'd never seen before, and was chosen to go to Llasa. It seems he led a lonely life, separated from others and schooled so closely that he felt like he was in a prison. It was interesting how rumors and crowds ignited the revolt and escape--reminded me of the Arab Spring events that have happened lately. The Chinese had invited the dalai lama to a cultural event and asked that his guards be left outside their building, and his guards assumed they were planning to kidnap him. Thus the local people ran to the summer palace Norbulingka to protect him. He was smuggled out and traveled across the barren wasteland to India where he set up a government in exile. It was interesting that the Tibetans saw the conflict w china as a religious struggle that they would fight wholeheartedly, a point of view that the chinese seemed to not understand. The author says: "he is no religious exile fleeing to some safe retreat . . . But a God-king of a proud, angry and courageous people coming to demand moral recognition and help in the name of religion from those who profess to believe in it against the forces of materialism." it seems that in the end, materialism has won out bc we value trade with the Chinese more highly than their records on human rights violations, not only in taking over Tibet but in other realms as well.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cornerofmadness

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. In all honesty, I think I was expecting something else from the write ups I read. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy this. I found it very interesting, truthfully. However, I was expecting much more about the Dalai Lama himself and honestly, this was more about what he means to the Tibetan people than anything else. The book starts off the with boy who will become the Dalai Lama. We get a lot of how he was a child, what his brothers and parents are like and how he was discovered to be the reincar In all honesty, I think I was expecting something else from the write ups I read. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy this. I found it very interesting, truthfully. However, I was expecting much more about the Dalai Lama himself and honestly, this was more about what he means to the Tibetan people than anything else. The book starts off the with boy who will become the Dalai Lama. We get a lot of how he was a child, what his brothers and parents are like and how he was discovered to be the reincarnation they were searching for. It goes into his loneliness and thoughts and feelings about being in the palace in Lhasa and his growing fears as to what the Chinese would do. He was barely more than a teen when the day to run came. But once he takes off for India, the focus of the book shifts. Very little, comparatively speaking, is centered on the Dalai Lama himself. Instead, we have dozens of other Tibetans and Western reports/CIA members to follow around and see what happens. While the history of what happened to Tibet is important, I thought it would just be to set the stage and we would get into the Dalai Lama’s head as he is forced to flee. Is he angry? Guilty to be leaving his people to fight for themselves? Grateful that so many are willing to die to keep him and what he symbolizes safe? Etc and really, I never got a clear image of any of that. So while it is interesting, it really seems to be more about the Tibetan people and their lives than the Dalai Lama’s. I felt vaguely disappointed in that but over all, it’s still a book worth reading.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Actually the first half of this book is detailed and extremely interesting background leading up to the escape story. The author explains in interesting details how the Dalai Lama was chosen and the story of his training and upbringing. He also tells the fascinating story of what happened from the time the Chinese invaded Tibet until the escape in 1959. In light of the fact that the Dalai Lama recently announced his retirement from the political side of his job, I found this story important and Actually the first half of this book is detailed and extremely interesting background leading up to the escape story. The author explains in interesting details how the Dalai Lama was chosen and the story of his training and upbringing. He also tells the fascinating story of what happened from the time the Chinese invaded Tibet until the escape in 1959. In light of the fact that the Dalai Lama recently announced his retirement from the political side of his job, I found this story important and informative. I far better understand the implications of his position in today's world. The escape story in the book is not as compelling as some other escape from Tibet books I have read. But it is historically valuable to know the details of the escape. I have followed the Dalai Lama with interest for many years and actually heard him speak in Houston many years ago. He is such a gentle soul with nerves of steel who was able to do the right thing at the right time when he was very young. Reading this book also upsets me somewhat because I know a number of young Chinese college students and I feel that while China is progressing economically and even politically the attitude toward Tibet is frightening and disappointing. I am grateful to the author for spelling out the story in a readable and compelling way. He has a glossary and a list of people's names that really help the reader to understand who all of those people are.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brian Bigelow

    "My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness." ~ Dalai Lama This is a very amazing viewpoint for anyone to have in my opinion. Every persons life is a journey and this book looks at the life's journey of the Dalai Lama. A fascinating and thoughtfully written story that has been thoroughly researched by Mr. Talty. While reading this book I could easily envision the people and places. Especially interesting was the political and military history of Tibet. Also of interest to me was the int "My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness." ~ Dalai Lama This is a very amazing viewpoint for anyone to have in my opinion. Every persons life is a journey and this book looks at the life's journey of the Dalai Lama. A fascinating and thoughtfully written story that has been thoroughly researched by Mr. Talty. While reading this book I could easily envision the people and places. Especially interesting was the political and military history of Tibet. Also of interest to me was the interspersing of Tibetan customs that brought further life to the story. Myself, I couldn't imagine having to leave my home because of events beyond my control, in this case the country being taken over. This however was the reality of the situation, having to leave his home in disguise while travelling hundreds of miles to India. Many things come together in the building of a persons life, helping to decide the road that will be travelled. Reading this book you begin to fully understand the guiding principles of the Dalai Lama. Simply put, this book is a must-read for anyone that is interested in the Dalai Lama. It's an exquisite page turner that will keep the reader engrossed.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Short, wonderful account of the Dalai Lama' s flight from Tibet. China for centuries kept Tibet under suzerainty where officials from China were tolerated as Tibet had gone its own way. It had a history of not allowing foreigners into the country in order to keep their culture and traditions intact even killing those who came. Eventually the British came and the Chinese invaded in 1959. As the Chinese officially claimed Tibet as its own, other powerful countries were not in the mood for challe Short, wonderful account of the Dalai Lama' s flight from Tibet. China for centuries kept Tibet under suzerainty where officials from China were tolerated as Tibet had gone its own way. It had a history of not allowing foreigners into the country in order to keep their culture and traditions intact even killing those who came. Eventually the British came and the Chinese invaded in 1959. As the Chinese officially claimed Tibet as its own, other powerful countries were not in the mood for challenging China and Tibet was so little known, that outsiders cared little about it. Gradually some Tibetans were able to press for help and it came in the form of the American CIA and British Intelligence. It was seen that if the Dalai Lama could escape Tibet to India that he could lobby the world for help. A harrowing escape ensued and was successful. But India under Nehru was not interested in antagonizing China and feared Kashmir which they had just invaded and claimed for India. Almost half of Tibet left for India after the Dalai Lama left and Tibetans who stayed fear for their lives, religion and culture to this day. A really moving read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    There is no doubt I have rated this book high as a result of having traveled to Tibet, specifically Lhasa. Having heard the story from our tour guide while there is was wonderful to read all of the details and history leading up to the Dahli Lama's escape from his homeland. I will credit our tour guide with having done a very good job with the reader's digest version of events. The book came alive as the author described the various monasteries and palaces knowing we had walked the same streets There is no doubt I have rated this book high as a result of having traveled to Tibet, specifically Lhasa. Having heard the story from our tour guide while there is was wonderful to read all of the details and history leading up to the Dahli Lama's escape from his homeland. I will credit our tour guide with having done a very good job with the reader's digest version of events. The book came alive as the author described the various monasteries and palaces knowing we had walked the same streets and seen the same sites. The reading of this book transported us back to our China vacation and confirmed it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. There is no doubt in my mind the Dhali Lama would not be the influential person he is today had he remained in Tibet. It is unfortunate that the Chinese could not find a way to co-exist with Tibetans and their belief structures as well as their form of self government. It will be interesting to see how Lhasa continues to evolve and who the next Dhali Lama will be....

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    After finishing Tetsu Saiwai's manga bio of the 14th Dali Lama (highly rec for all ages), decided I needed to fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge of his life. I was looking for a book that informed me about the Lhasa Uprising 52 years ago, that gave me insight into the Dali Lama's trek across the Himalayas fleeing certain death at the hands of Mao's PLA & his growth from a sheltered child king-god into the modern Nobel Laureate in 1989. This book fell woefully short in my expectations. Whil After finishing Tetsu Saiwai's manga bio of the 14th Dali Lama (highly rec for all ages), decided I needed to fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge of his life. I was looking for a book that informed me about the Lhasa Uprising 52 years ago, that gave me insight into the Dali Lama's trek across the Himalayas fleeing certain death at the hands of Mao's PLA & his growth from a sheltered child king-god into the modern Nobel Laureate in 1989. This book fell woefully short in my expectations. While it indeed filled in gaps of my knowledge, I found it to be poorly written, which is disappointing since the book's cover blurb touts the author as a worldwide award winning journalist. I came away from the book feeling as if he had simply "phoned it in."

  21. 4 out of 5

    L

    This book describes the flight of the young Dalai Lama's flight to freedom in 1959 from Tibet to India during the Chinese invasion. The story starts from the time the Dalai Lama is chosen as a small boy to modern day. This story helped to put together all the pieces I remember of the Dalai Lama's life. He was in Minnesota a few months ago when I was there, so his appearance renewed my interest in this story. I heard a review last year on NPR about the book, which had not been released yet, so it This book describes the flight of the young Dalai Lama's flight to freedom in 1959 from Tibet to India during the Chinese invasion. The story starts from the time the Dalai Lama is chosen as a small boy to modern day. This story helped to put together all the pieces I remember of the Dalai Lama's life. He was in Minnesota a few months ago when I was there, so his appearance renewed my interest in this story. I heard a review last year on NPR about the book, which had not been released yet, so it has been on my "to read list" for awhile.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael Kerr

    This book covering the early life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his escape from the Chinese, is well researched without falling into the weighty academic category. Beginning with his identification as the incarnation as the 14th Dalai Lama, the narrative provides glimpses of the very closed society he was born into and traces his gradual evolution into the great leader he has become. The uprising of 1959, during which the escape took place, provides the central drama of the book. Talty's ha This book covering the early life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his escape from the Chinese, is well researched without falling into the weighty academic category. Beginning with his identification as the incarnation as the 14th Dalai Lama, the narrative provides glimpses of the very closed society he was born into and traces his gradual evolution into the great leader he has become. The uprising of 1959, during which the escape took place, provides the central drama of the book. Talty's has a light touch and this narrative non-fiction account is a pretty darn good read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hpstrangelove

    Fascinating, true, story. I listened to the audiobook because my son was reading it for English class. I prefer fiction but like to know what he's reading so we can discuss it. The beginning of the book was a bit boring to me, but I think that's because it was more factual than 'fictional'. After several chapters, I became more interested in the story and the 'characters'. It was difficult at times to read, knowing that these characters were real, and that the things that had happened to them we Fascinating, true, story. I listened to the audiobook because my son was reading it for English class. I prefer fiction but like to know what he's reading so we can discuss it. The beginning of the book was a bit boring to me, but I think that's because it was more factual than 'fictional'. After several chapters, I became more interested in the story and the 'characters'. It was difficult at times to read, knowing that these characters were real, and that the things that had happened to them were real.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Heep

    Some people's lives defy all odds and explanations. The Dalai Lama is one. His birth and early life are so distant from his later life that it beggars description. This book does a marvellous job of telling the tale, the history of the Dalai Lamas and of Tibet. Only the last portion (the authors trip to Tibet) is a bit of a disappointment and detracts from the whole. It is still a very interesting book and well recommended. The narration in the audio version is a treat. Some people's lives defy all odds and explanations. The Dalai Lama is one. His birth and early life are so distant from his later life that it beggars description. This book does a marvellous job of telling the tale, the history of the Dalai Lamas and of Tibet. Only the last portion (the authors trip to Tibet) is a bit of a disappointment and detracts from the whole. It is still a very interesting book and well recommended. The narration in the audio version is a treat.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Deanna (Anya)

    Not the type of thing I usually read. But a fantastic life story of the fourteenth Dalai Lamais trek out of war torn Tibet. The personal strength and vigilance that it took for the entire group to tackle the mountainous trek and risk their lives to save their lives. Good history details and well written. Highly recommend it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    I saw this book displayed on the "new books" bookcase in the E.L. library and knew it was a must read. It would fill in the blanks of my knowledge about how the Dalai Lama, one of my personal heroes, got to India. However, I was not sure I could get through it. So much sadness! So much violence! However, the depth and descriptions and wide view of the author kept me going. Glad I read it. I saw this book displayed on the "new books" bookcase in the E.L. library and knew it was a must read. It would fill in the blanks of my knowledge about how the Dalai Lama, one of my personal heroes, got to India. However, I was not sure I could get through it. So much sadness! So much violence! However, the depth and descriptions and wide view of the author kept me going. Glad I read it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    An excellent view into the early life of the Dalai Lama. This gives you an interesting perspective on what experience formed the man we hear about and from today. What I also found particularly interesting was Talty's insights on Task Force Tibet, and the both the U.S. and world response to blatant PRC aggression in this country. An excellent view into the early life of the Dalai Lama. This gives you an interesting perspective on what experience formed the man we hear about and from today. What I also found particularly interesting was Talty's insights on Task Force Tibet, and the both the U.S. and world response to blatant PRC aggression in this country.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia

    Pretty good, but I was reading a lot of non-fiction and hit a wall with this book. I had to take a break and that cut the momentum and thus the readability of the book. In retrospect, I might have rather read one of the Dalai Lama's own biographies. Nonetheless, this was interesting and I learned a lot. I have even greater respect now for the Dalai Lama. Pretty good, but I was reading a lot of non-fiction and hit a wall with this book. I had to take a break and that cut the momentum and thus the readability of the book. In retrospect, I might have rather read one of the Dalai Lama's own biographies. Nonetheless, this was interesting and I learned a lot. I have even greater respect now for the Dalai Lama.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    This book was very educational. I appreciated the gathering of information that the author took to write this book. I found it to be accurate portrayal of the escape of the young Dalai Lama. After reading this book, I found the epilogue to be perhaps the most interesting chapter, The author goes to Lhasa in 2009.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    There was a lot of historical background on Tibet, some of which surprised me, such as CIA involvement helping the Dali Lama's escape but there is no suspense in the story, just a rather stodgy narration of China's violent takeover of Tibet and the otherwise prosaic escape Of the Dali and his hundreds of loyal supporters. There was a lot of historical background on Tibet, some of which surprised me, such as CIA involvement helping the Dali Lama's escape but there is no suspense in the story, just a rather stodgy narration of China's violent takeover of Tibet and the otherwise prosaic escape Of the Dali and his hundreds of loyal supporters.

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