Tibet, Tibet: A Personal History of a Lost Land

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9780002571098: Tibet, Tibet: A Personal History of a Lost Land

In 1982, while he was still a schoolboy, Patrick French met the Dalai Lama for the first time. Ever since, he has been fascinated by Tibet’s people, its history, and its recent plight.

For centuries, Tibet has occupied a unique place in the Western imagination: romantic, mysterious, a remote mountain kingdom of incarnate lamas and nomadic herdsmen, of gold-roofed monasteries and hidden valleys which hold the secret of eternal youth. In recent years, Tibet has acquired an additional resonance as the oppressed vassal of its mighty neighbour China. Its plight has attracted Hollywood stars, and the exiled Dalai Lama has become the global embodiment of spiritual attainment and unflagging commitment to his nation. The effect of these myths has been more to obscure than to reveal the reality of the country, its people and its plight.
Tibet, Tibet has its origins in Patrick French’s twenty-year involvement in the Tibetan cause. Part memoir, part travel book, part history, it is a quest for the true Tibet. He finds a land with a long, warlike past and a complex interlocking relationship with China. He meets victims and perpetrators of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and young nuns who continue the fight against Communist rule. He stays in the tents of nomads, and hears first-hand accounts of the hopeless battle against overwhelmingly superior Chinese forces which ended, in a single day, a way of life which had endured for thousands of years.
On his journey, Patrick French is continually sidetracked by a cascade of information, thoughts and reflections on such subjects as how to blind a cabinet minister using a yak’s knucklebones, the correct method of travelling across a desert by night, and the reasons for the Dalai Lama’s transformation into ‘an unknown dark-brown bird, bigger than a normal raven’. Patrick French has found a new way of writing about a place and its history. He fascinatingly illuminates one of the most persistently troubling of international issues, and confirms his reputation as one of the finest writers at work today.

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Review:

From the reviews of Younghusband:

‘The outstanding debut of a brilliant new biographer’
Michael Holroyd

‘I found myself reading through the night. This is a rare gem of a book’
Fiammetta Rocco, Independent on Sunday

‘They don’t come much more enjoyable than this’
Jan Morris, Independent

From the reviews of Liberty or Death:

‘Brilliant… There can surely now be no serious doubt French is the most impressive Western historian of modern India currently at work’
Frank McLynn, Glasgow Herald

‘Well-researched, beautifully written and immensely scholarly’
Andrew Roberts, Sunday Times

From the Back Cover:

For centuries, Tibet has occupied a unique place in the Western imagination: romantic, mysterious, a remote mountain kingdom of incarnate lamas and nomadic herdsmen, of gold-roofed monasteries and hidden valleys which hold the secrets of eternal youth. In recent years, Tibet has acquired an additional resonance as the oppressed vassal of its mighty neighbour, China. Its plight has attracted Hollywood stars, and the exiled Dalai Lama has become the global embodiment of spiritual attainment and unflagging commitment to the cause. The effect of these myths has been more to obscure than reveal the historical and modern reality of the country, its people and their plight.

'Tibet, Tibet' has its origins in Patrick French's twenty-year involvement in the Tibetan cause. Part memoir, part travel book, part history, it is a quest for the true as opposed to the mythical Tibet. Rather than the peace-loving nation of popular Western perception, he finds a land with a long, warlike past and a complex interlocking relationship with China. Above all, he looks at how Tibet's recent history has affected the lives of individuals. He meets victims and perpetrators of Mao's Cultural Revolution, and young nuns who continue the underground fight against communist rule. He stays in the tents of nomads, and hears first-hand accounts of the hopeless battle against overwhelmingly superior Chinese forces which ended, in a single day, a way of life that had endured for thousands of years.

On his journey through Tibet, Patrick French is sidetracked by a cascade of information, thoughts and reflections on such subjects as how to blind a cabinet minister using a yak's knucklebones, the correct method of travelling across a desert by night, and the reasons for the Dalai Lama's transformation into 'an unknown dark-brown bird, bigger than a normal raven'. Following the acclaimed 'Younghusband' and 'Liberty or Death', Patrick French finds a new way of writing about a place and its history. He fascinatingly illuminates one of the most persistently troubling of international issues, and confirms his reputation as one of the finest writers at work today.

Acclaim for 'Younghusband':

'One of the most dazzling debuts British biography has witnessed in decades.'
Niall Ferguson, 'Daily Mail'

'This truly is a brilliant book, and brilliantly funny as well'
John Keegan, 'Daily Telegraph'

'Breathtakingly accomplished…Ranks as one of this years most thrilling biographies'
Jonathan Keates, 'Observer'

Acclaim for 'Liberty or Death':

'A fine, lucid book…vividly drawn with novel-like touches.'
Hanif Kureshi, 'Observer'

'Brilliant…It is also enormous fun to read'
Philip Ziegler, 'Daily Telegraph'

'A brilliant book on an important subject…There can surely now be no serious doubt French is the most impressive Western historian of modern India currently at work.'
Frank McLynn, 'Glasgow Herald'

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French, Patrick
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (2003)
ISBN 10: 0002571099 ISBN 13: 9780002571098
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0002571099

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