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Across Many Mountains: Three Daughters of Tibet

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  683 ratings  ·  160 reviews
Kunsang thought she would never leave Tibet. One of Tibet's youngest nuns, she grew up in a remote mountain village where, as a teenager, she entered the local nunnery. Though simple, Kunsang's life gave her all she needed: a oneness with nature, a sense of the spiritual in all things. She married a monk, had two children and lived in peace and prayer. But not for long.

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 3rd 2011 by Harvill Secker (first published January 1st 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,538)
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Linda Robinson
An absorbing account of what China perpetrated by annexing Tibet, told by the granddaughter of a Buddhist monk and nun who escaped Chinese oppression walking with all they had on their backs, including one of their daughters. Across the Himalayas to India, to Switzerland, New York. Ms. Brauen writes with a fierce heart, reminding the reader that when we ignore colonial imperialism - or practice it - we change the lives of everyone dynastic imperative touches, even in a tiny village at the top of...more
I won this memoir from the First Reads program. I was excited to receive a copy because I love memoirs and this particular one piqued my interest. Going in, I knew very little about Tibet other than some scattered impressions gathered from the periodic popularity surges of the “Free Tibet” movement here in the United States. I enjoyed this easy read. Its structure as a multigenerational memoir was interesting and well done. I appreciated that Brauen isn’t an apologist for the unattractive aspect...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
The multigenerational memoir is an interesting beast. It allows for a great sweep of history, and brings to light stories that would not otherwise have been told. It’s a startling reminder of how much the world has changed, and how fast. Of course, one can’t help but wonder how true it ever is--is anyone completely honest with their offspring about their own young life? can anyone be completely honest in writing about their family?--but that’s a small price to pay for the amazing stories you get...more
The actual story told in this book is amazing. The courage, strength and resolve the women in this story had to not only escape Tibet during the cultural revolution, but also survive their years in India after escaping, is astonishing.

In addition to the story of Kunsang and Sonam, I also enjoyed learning about Tibetan culture and Buddhist customs described in this book. Old Tibet wasn't the loving Utopia I had always thought it to be, I do appreciate that the author gave a very realistic view o...more
A friend loaned me this book. I don't usually read this sort of nonfiction but decided to give it a go because it was about Tibet.

Content wise there were some really interesting observations and recollections about life in Tibet - buddhism, rural life in Tibet in the 1930/40s, the impact of Chinese rule. Also some memorable descriptions about life for Tibetan refugees in India and the perilous journeys they made across the mountains to get there.
The story follows 3 generations of a family who es...more
I had the good fortune to receive this book courtesy of Goodreads First Reads. Unfortunately, my high expectations fell flat. For such an emotional story, being uprooted from one's homeland and then being forced to live as a refugee, I just didn't feel any sort of emotional connection to the grandmother and mother who lived through this experience. I was able to connect a bit better when the author, who is closer to my age, began to write about her experiences. It will be interesting to see if o...more
“Across Many Mountains” is a memoir that covers three generations of women over a period of 80 years. Yangzom Brauen, a Los Angeles actress, model, writer and activist, tells the story of her grandmother, a Buddhist nun who leaves her rural village in the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet in 1959, with her husband and two children and crosses into India and becomes a refugee. As she describes in the book, the Chinese claimed to have liberated the Tibetans from a caste system under clerics and aristoc...more
Sailor Figment
This book may only tell the story of 3 generations of women, but you get the feeling of traversing many centuries. The story begins high in the Tibetan Himalayas in a small village lacking any modern conveniences. Modern, for 1910, that is. But it could have been 1810 or 1710. Life was hard but simple, and the author's grandmother was content. Her contentment and detachment from worldly life is felt in the narrative. Then in 1959 the Chinese took over and imposed Communism on the country. They s...more
I received an Advance Readers' Copy of this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

"Across Many Mountains" is a memoir of three generations of women from a family. Kunsang was born and raised in Tibet, prior to the Chinese invasion of Tibet. As an adult, she chose to be a Buddhist nun. With her family she flees across the Himalayas during the Chinese occoupation of Tibet. Her daughter, Sonam, is born in Tibet, becomes a refugee in India as a child, eventually moving to Switzerland where she r...more
(3.5 out of 5 stars)
The life of a Tibetan, especially a Tibetan woman, is hard enough at the best of times. And when you are a female Tibetan Buddhist nun at a time when the People's Republic of China is trying to wipe out not only all religion but also Tibet, chances of a good life are bleak indeed. Unless you are a female Tibetan Buddhist nun who is can find peace where others see only darkness. Who is at peace even knowing that as a woman, she is less valued than a man. And who believes in th...more
Carolyn Lind
"When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the face of the earth."-old saying in Tibet

Compared to some memoirs, this story has a strong ring of truth and authenticity. Through the eyes of the author's grandmother, a devout Buddhist nun, the reader gains an inside view of her religion as well as the challenges she faced when the Chinese destroyed much of what she considered sacred. Driven from their homeland by the 1950 Chinese invasi...more
"When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the face of the earth."

This book outlines the impact of the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950. When Chinese soldiers arrived at Kunsangs monastery, destroying everything as they went, Kunsang and her family escaped across the Himalayas, sadly spending years in Indian refugee camps. Kunsangs husband and her youngest child both died under the conditions of the camps, but the future held an ex...more
ACROSS MANY MOUNTAINS: A TIBETAN FAMILY'S EPIC JOURNEY FROM OPPRESSION TO FREEDOM by Yangzom Brauen is made up of descriptions of one Tibetan family’s progression through different cultures, beginning in Tibet before the Chinese invasion and ending in Switzerland until they do a complete circle and return to Tibet many years later after the Chinese allow them back in. Each culture the family moves to is more technologically advanced than the last. This book is about their ability to cope in each...more
This book is simply stunning. It is not only the history of one family, but in a way it is also the history of an entire people. The story begins in Tibet, pre-Chinese invasion, with the author's grandmother, who was a Buddhist nun. Life in Tibet at that time is beautifully described. The story then follows the brutal effects of the Chinese invasion, the nun fleeing with her family on foot across the Himalayas in the snow, and arriving in India. The book then goes on to describe the extreme pove...more
Tibet still remains an isolated and little-known region of the world, even more so now as China continues to suppress news about the ongoing struggle Tibetans have maintaining their culture and self-determination in the face of extreme suppression and oppression. Yangzom Brauen, in her touching and illuminating memoir, tells the story of three generations: Yangzom herself, her mother, and her grandmother - the eponymous three daughters of Tibet.

Through her grandmother's biography, Brauen retell...more
I read this for book club and actually liked it more than most of the others in my group. I thought that the story of Kunsang and Sonam's escape from Tibet was riveting; however, once they are safely out, the story loses much of its vibrancy. Still I found it interesting and enjoyable, at least until the last chapters when Yangzom gets overly preachy and self-reflective. She is a much more successful author when she is talking about her family than when she focuses on herself.
3-1/2 stars.
I would like to give this more stars, but I just can't. It was just okay. I think I read it hoping that after all the dramatic hardship the women suffered, there would be something inspiring in their lives that would give me reason to be better. Instead, I felt like, "so what? Doesn't everyone suffer something in this life and learn to live with it?" I'm not saying it doesn't have any redeeming qualities, just that I wasn't very touched or lifted by their story.
Laura LeAnn
An interesting read, overall. I learned about Buddhism and the plight of Tibet and the Tibetan people, something I had not known much about even in my studies of history, as my studies have focused on the West, rather than the East. Brauen highlights the inconsistencies of the political reactions of the United States and the West (Europe, etc.) to recent events as compared to the outright ignoring of the plight of the Tibetan movement for autonomy or independence from China. However, I was looki...more
Very much a reading group book. Kunsang was a Buddhist nun who married a monk and kept a small temple. Many of her children died. After the Chinese brought the Cultural Revolution to Tibet, her family made the hard trek across the Himalayas to India. Many more died. With the blessing of Rinpoche Dudjom, her daughter Sonam married a Swiss man (and friend of the Dalai Lama) Walter Brauen. He brought the two women back to Europe. Walter and Sonam had a daughter, Yangzom, who had balls of steel. Wen...more
This book covers three generations. The author, Yangzom Brauen, is the child of a Tibetan refugee and her Swiss husband; her grandmother was a Tibetan nun who was forced to flee the country with her six-year-old daughter when the Chinese occupation of Tibet became violent, especially toward those leading religious lives.

I learned a fair amount about Tibet while reading this book, which is why I wanted to read it. I hear it mentioned occasionally, but I never knew much about the situation, and no...more
Cate (The Professional Fangirl)
* In compliance with FTC guidelines, it should be noted that I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

It is a powerful and very personal story of family, survival, diaspora, bravery, nationalism, and faith.

You will feel like you are with this family on their journey from their home country of Tibet, away from the Chinese oppression, to surviving in India, until they settle in Switzerland where a new generation continues the fight to free Tibet. Along the lines of Amy Tan’s The...more
This moving personal family history covering three generations of Tibetan women conveys the tragedy of the Chinese occupation of Tibet with more power than news reports or statistics. The details are different, but in a way it is a universal story not just of Tibet, but of every culture that has been purposely suppressed by another. Author Yangzom Brauen chronicles the lives of her grandmother, who has maintained the life of a Tibetan nun in all the years she’s had to live abroad, her mother, wh...more
Across Many Mountains is a true account of a people and a country that are not widely known in the West, or at least not known by this reader. In 1950 China invaded Tibet (this was not the first time). A Buddhist monk and his wife, a Buddhist nun (it's OK in their branch of Buddhism), and their two young daughters began a tortuous journey on foot through the Himalayas to the safety of India. The younger daughter died, the monk's health was ruined, but the mother and older daughter survived. This...more
Yangzom Brauen vertelt ons het verhaal van haar Tibetaanse familie, dat wil zeggen, haar grootmoeder, moeder en haarzelf. Haar grootmoeder Kunsang Wangmo (ze noemt haar meestal Mola, het Tibetaanse woord voor grootmoeder), vermoedelijk geboren in 1920, groeit op met haar familie in Pang, een Tibetaans dorp. Als klein meisje woont ze bij de nonnen en wordt ze later zelf ook non. Op 13-jarige leeftijd – haar ouders zijn dan al overleden – volgen zij en anderen Ape Rinpoche, een bekend religieus on...more
Codymarie Greene`
This is a wonderful memoir of three generations of Tibetan women. These women have gave us the gift of understanding what Tibet was before the Chinese occupation, the beauty of a land that no longer exists as a peaceful paradise, the Buddahist beliefs that have changed, and the fight to keep their familial and cultural traditions alive.
While I understand that the main focus of this memoir is to place Tibet in the forefront of our hearts and minds (and it has done that for me), the relationships...more
Kunsang grew up in extreme poverty (the norm) in a remote village in Tibet. She led a contemplative life and became a Buddhist nun at a very young age. While living in a stick hut at 13,000', she met a young Buddhist monk. They recieved permission to marry, (yes, their sect allows that, which is brilliant) and continued to live a very spiritual life at very high altitude.

Then the Chinese invaded, and every Buddhist monastery was threatened. After several scary encounters with Chinese soldiers, K...more
I am grateful to Yangzom Brauen for writing this memoir and for bringing the story of her grandmother, her mother, and herself to life. These three brave women have so much to teach us about Tibet and what it means to be a refugee. I learned much about Tibetian Buddhism, Tibetian culture, the Chinese occupation of Tibet, and the state of the refugees. What shocked me most is that I didn't know most of this prior to reading this book! I've heard plenty of "Free Tibet" slogans, but I now have a be...more
Zohar -
Across Many Moun­tains: A Tibetan Family's Epic Jour­ney from Oppres­sion to Free­dom by Yang­zom Brauen is a non-fiction book which fol­lows three gen­er­a­tions of Tibetan women. The book is an insight into Tibetan’s society.

The book is the story of the author’s grand­mother, mother and her­self. Start­ing in 1959, the story fol­lows Ms. Brauen’s grand­mother, Kun­sang, as she escapes Tibet after the Chi­nese inva­sion. Kun­sang was stu­dyng to be a Bud­dhist nun but when she gets preg­nant Ku...more
Ruth Hyland
This was interesting. I didn't know much about Tibet or its issues. This is the story of Monk and Nun of the Buddhist religion fleeing Tibet with their 2 young daughters into India. The story is told by their granddaughter Yangzom. I also didn't know much about the Buddhist religion. One of the things that has stuck with me from the book is that giving refugees isn't helpful unless it is the same type of food they are used to. otherwise you have to teach them how to cook it. fascinating. the gra...more
I received this book through the First Reads giveaway program.

I enjoyed Yangzom Brauen's account of her grandmother and mother's lives as Tibetan refugees. She does a beautiful job of explaining her grandmother's life as a Buddhist nun and her life growing up in Tibet pre-Chinese occupation. She discusses her grandmother's acceptance of Tibet's rigid caste system and how that affected her life both in Tibet and once she left. She also talked about her mother's childhood, spending her first 6 yea...more
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Born in 1980 to a Swiss father and Tibetan mother, Yangzom Brauen is an actress, model, and political activist. She lives in both Los Angeles and Berlin and has appeared in a number of German and American films. She is also very active in the Free Tibet movement, making regular radio broadcasts about Tibet and organizing public demonstrations against the Chinese occupation of Tibet. "
More about Yangzom Brauen...
Across Many Mountains: The Extraordinary Story of Three Generations of Women in Tibet Moederland

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