Seven Years In Tibet
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Seven Years In Tibet

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  6,885 ratings  ·  396 reviews
Originally published in 1953, this adventure classic recounts Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer's 1943 escape from a British internment camp in India, his daring trek across the Himalayas, and his happy sojourn in Tibet, then, as now, a remote land little visited by foreigners. Warmly welcomed, he eventually became tutor to the Dalai Lama, teenaged god-king of the theoc...more
Hardcover, Large Print
Published September 1st 1982 by Ulverscroft (first published 1952)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”Now the Living Buddha was approaching. He passed quite close to our window. The women stiffened in a deep obeisance and hardly dared to breathe. The crowd was frozen. Deeply moved we hid ourselves behind the women as if to protect ourselves from being drawn into the magic circle of his power.

We kept saying to ourselves, ‘It is only a child.’ A child, indeed, but the heart of the concentrated faith of thousands, the essence of their prayers, longings, hopes. Whether it is Lhasa or Rome--all are
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
I bought my copy of this book from a thrift shop last 27 January 2010. Handwritten on its first inside page is the former owner's name followed by:

"23 Jan 1999
"Los Angeles
"7:00 pm."

I suspect he (or she?) was a Tibetan. It's typical of these religious and superstitious people to ascribe meaning to every event, or to the time, place and date it happened. Even when it is just a book purchase.

The former owner's name seems to read : "Yee Yitathajisi" but I'm not sure, especially the small...more
Lynne King
This is a book that I bought way back in 1990. It was an excellent travel book and I purchased it because of my enjoyment of reading about life in Tibet (it always struck me as such an exotic place) and I was also very influenced by Buddhism at the time. It was so sad about the situation with China and the Dalai Lama.

I must reread this.
Heinrich Harrer, the author of this book, was a mountaineer and an adventurer. He was the first to climb the North Face of the Eiger Mountain in Switzerland. He did this int the 1930s. This book, originally published in 1953, is an adventure classic that recounts Heinrich Harrer's 1943 escape from a British internment camp in India, his daring trek across the Himalayas, and his seven years in Tibet, coming to an end with the Chinese invasion. He became a dear friend of the fourteenth Dali Lama....more
I'll be the first to say the movie version is... well, awful. It sensationalized aspects of Harrer's life (although the part about leaving his pregnant wife turns out to be true and was interestingly omitted by Harrer from the book itself). The film also created a stupidly melodramatic fake love triangle and gave short shrift to just how riveting the journey to Lhasa must have been. Of course, this shouldn't be the surprise. "The book is better than the movie" is a common refrain. Once you get i...more
Harrer, an Austrian, was a mountain climber/adventurer who the first person to climb the North Face/Wall of the Eiger Mountain in Switzerland in the 1930s. He was in India to climb mountains when he was imprisoned by the English merely because his native language was German. This book, originally published in 1953, is an adventure classic that recounts Heinrich Harrer's 1943 escape from a British internment camp in India, his daring trek across the Himalayas, and his happy sojourn in Tibet, then...more
This was one of those books which starts off really well but then kind of gets a little monotonous in between and never really gets back on track after that. In fact, I had a hard time finishing it. I am not saying I was accepting it to be a page turner but I have real quite a few travel monologues and this failed to keep me interested. I really appreciate that the author has done a good job in reporting true events and facts rather then choosing to sensationalize it. However, after a point of t...more
I read this on a train, and it was a perfect setting.
This is one of those books that reminds you of how much we, "in the modern world" take for granted. I have to admit that a lot of the story relayed in this book is not written in a way to enthuse and engage it's reader. It reads like what it is, an account of an unexplored world where we're much more engaged in what is happening in our life than the mythologies that we build up around it. I had to take several pauses throughout my reading to...more
This is a wonderful book and significantly different that the movie with Brad Pitt. While Harrar and his fellow PoW escapee, Peter Aufscnaiter, were simply trying to be free from the British in India during WWII (although Harrar seemed more interested not in Tibet itself initially but just making his way across Tibet and through China to the Japanese lines since the Japanese were Germany's ally) they both seemed to quickly fall in love with the people and the land of Tibet.

While at times the bo...more
The story told in this book is phenomenal, but I just could not get into Heinrich. For one thing, he (and his companions) were rude, culturally insensitive, and uncompromising as they made their way towards Lhasa. He then wrote many things about Tibet and Tibetans as fact when 1) it seems unlikely that he would be a Tibet scholar, when he spent most of his seven years living among the rich and privileged in Lhasa, 2) some of his words sometimes contradicted each other. Additionally, the bitter p...more
When the movie "7 Years in Tibet" came out I made my girlfriend get in the car and drive 50 miles with me, to another city, just to see it. Since that time it has been one of my favorite films, despite the fact that I like to quote Brad Pitt's lines in a horrible Austrian accent ("shut up peter!"). However, the movie departs from Heinrich Harrer's account on several key points.

1) He never mentions a troubled marriage or a son he left behind (maybe this is referenced in his other writings), 2) H...more
'Seven Years in Tibet' is not a travel memoir, so do not call it one. This novel suffers from one of the greatest plagues in literature. It's placed in a genre, in a much too generalized subject, that it isn't admired for what it is.

How I came across this book is a long story, but needless to say it was on a whim and without recommendation. The first I heard about the possible plot of this text was when I had the chance to read the synopsis after bringing it home from the library. I was intrigue...more
Interesting and inspiring book, made even more poignant by my trip to the mountains of Uzbekistan while I was reading it. I wrote that I still have to read the post-movie copy with the Afterward by Harrer (but of course I don't know what this means any more as I hardly even remember having read the book).

The quote below sounds patronizing now ("stage of evolution"), but I do often miss the pace of life in Uzbekistan and think that much would be lost if suddenly Uzbeks had to live their lives at...more
The first 120 pages or so is perhaps the best adventure/expedition novel I have ever read. I fell in love with real places in what is now China, and found myself obsessively searching google for proof of their existence night after night. This portion of the book flew by in no time, and will forever remain in my mind as some of the most rewarding literature in it's class.

The remainder of the book was rewarding on a different level, but unlike the first part of the book, is not reading for any m...more
A memoir by a dude who was (A) an Olympic skier and (B) a famous mountaineer, who became (C) a POW in India when WWII broke out and decided to become (D) a fugitive to hoof it into the mighty Himalayas where he started a career as (E) a starving wanderer in a land where you cannot possibly survive without human assistance. And that's just the beginning. He goes on to do and be many other amazing things throughout the course of his tale. This is the kind of life story that anybody would want, and...more
Tempo de Ler
Sete Anos no Tibete relata-nos a viagem do alpinista austríaco Heinrich Harrer após a sua fuga de um campo de prisioneiros na índia, aquando do início da Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Esta curta frase é suficiente para consolidar a perceção de que este é de facto um relato único! Escrevendo de forma bastante directa e sumarizando ao máximo uma extraordinariamente diversa exposição de factos, Harrer deixou-nos um relatório com imenso valor e interesse histórico. Desde a alimentação, cerimónias, crenças,...more
Come on Heinrich! From what I’ve gathered independent of this book, Tibet is the shit. Have you heard of momos? Obviously Heinrich hadn’t. I get that they probably weren’t a thing before the Chinese invasion brought the dumpling but still, if you aren’t going to tell us about momos, then at least tell us what tsampa is, cause right now, 300 pages later, I’m picturing either some steamed weeds or a ball of paste. And no I won’t google it, you should have told me what it was more than once because...more
Laura Greenwood
Review forthcoming on http://a-reader-lives-a-thousand-live...

Seven Years in Tibet follows the astonishing true story of the Austrian, Heinrich Harrer, who became the teacher to the fourteenth Dalai Lama. Arrested and put into a prisoner of war camp in India, Harrer was determined to escape, planning to make his way to the Japanese frontier in an attempt to get home. But Harrer, and his companions, find that even the best laid plans can sometimes fail, and Harrer, along with his sole remaining c...more
Derek Lamb
Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer provides a fascinating view into Tibetan culture. Harrer, an Austrian, tells of his capture in India by British forces during World War II and how he escaped from a POW internment camp. The only safe haven that he saw was the isolated nation of Tibet. Tibet was famous for its exclusion of outsiders. It was impossible to travel there without a permit, people would refuse to trade, and officials would prevent travel further into the land. Harrer uses all his...more
This book was not only a tale of adventure in escaping a British POW camp in India but also a collection of observations and musings on Tibetan culture. The author was a resourceful and hardy individual who carved a life for himself in an unknown world. He found himself a well-off man whose ingenuity brought him close to a young Dalai Lama.

The book protects a memory and snapshot of Tibet before it was engulfed by China. It was a nation that had it own citizens house shackled prisoners in lieu of...more
the lull in the middle killed this book for me.

maybe i got spoiled while eating up the travails of getting from india to tibet - two years of wandering, poorer than nomads, across the himalayas - and the flight from the reds and the fall of lhasa. these are interesting, colorful, evolving scenes. but in the middle it gets bogged down with harrer's daily life, which is to be expected as he settled into 'life'; but he ceases, at that point, to make life interesting. he stops giving interesting in...more
This book deserves two different star ratings as it holds two completely different stories. That is the way I look at it anyway. Heinrich Harrer was a mountain climber who fled into Tibet when German's were being rounded up during the war. His journey, along with a friend, through the wastelands of Tibet was amazing. It was told in a way that you really felt for them and their trials and tribulations. Once they reach the city I lost interest. It goes on and on about how they had to make sure not...more
Kapil Yadav
simplicity, simplicity and simplicity!
no romanticism, no personal details, sheer simplicity!
Rashmi Layal
This is an amazing book which is not only a true travel book but can be easily kept in category of adventure books. Now I know " the forbidden land" , " the roof of the world " and about its god king .
I am feeling like a part of me got lost somewhere in Tibet.I am sure no documentary could have given me so much insight about Tibet.
To quote some of my favorite lines :

(Awestruck) : "We kept saying to ourselves, ‘It is only a child.’ A child, indeed, but the heart of the concentrated faith of tho...more
Pradeep Chandkiran
A well-known Austrian Olympian is on an expedition to conquer Nanga Parbat when World War II breaks out. Immediately interned by the British at one of the war camps. An unconquerable urge to break out. A 6000 km hike through some of the harshest terrain on earth to arrive at the holiest city of Tibet. Unexpected hospitality, unwelcome challenges and the enviable position of rising to be one of the closest confidantes of the Living God, the Dalai Lama. This is the stuff legends are made of.

All th...more
This book was so very inspiring! Having been on am unforgettable trip to Dharamasala, the official exile-home of the Dali Lama, as well as numerous Tibetan refugees, this really hit a nerve within me. Many of the monks and people I spoke to there still long to be back in their own country - the fight for this freedom is by no means over and is not nearly voiced enough in our Western world!

Not only was the fight off the Tibetans inspiring, but Harrer's journey and escape shows many attributes th...more
Rachel Heath
This was a slow read for me, but I was intrigued from the very beginning. During the last few chapters, wherein the author describes the young Dalai Lama and their unconventional relationship, I could barely put the book down. Harrer begins by explaining that he's not much of an author, and will endeavor to simply present the facts. I found the simplicity with which he writes a pleasure to read. I did feel that there were some missed opportunities to paint a fuller picture of the culture of happ...more
This book will absolutely delight your inner armchair anthropologist. Harrer's adventures getting into Tibet, then into Lhasa, and then into the Dalai Lama's inner circle are absolutely fascinating. This book has piqued my interest regarding Tibetan culture. Harrer touched on a few things that I wish he had discussed with more detail, particularly the practice of polyandry within Tibet. I knew going into this book that Harrer eventually became buds with the Dalai Lama, so I kept reading and read...more
My favorite film and also one of my favorite books - both are stunning (and imperfect) in different ways. Harrer is an inconsistent writer: his travelogue is difficult to follow, his narratives are sometimes too long or too short, and his assessments of people, places and things are confusing and sometimes 'problematic'. These issues are not flaws, however... the sheer subjectivity of this book is what makes it magical. It certainly wouldn't have been published in its existing form today, as edi...more
This is a woderful account of Heinrich Harrer's long journey as a exile in Tibet. Although it is written from the point of a mountaineer I think that any one will enjoy the story. And best of all it is true.
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Heinrich Harrer (6 de Julho de 1912 – 7 de Janeiro de 2006) foi um montanhista, investigador, geógrafo e escritor austríaco.
Heinrich Harrer nasceu em Hüttenberg na região de Caríntia. Entre 1933 e 1938 Harrer estudou geografia e desporto na Universidade Karl-Franzens em Graz.
Harrer fez parte da primeira equipe que escalou a face norte do Eiger na Suíça, junto com Anderl Heckmair, Fritz Kasparek e...more
More about Heinrich Harrer...
The White Spider Return to Tibet Beyond Seven Years in Tibet - My Life Before, During and After Mein Leben Lost Lhasa: Heinrich Harrer's Tibet

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“All our dreams begin in youth.” 9 likes
“We have a saying in Tibet: If a problem can be solved there is no use worrying about it. If it can't be solved, worrying will do no good.” 9 likes
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