The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama
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The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  207 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Over the course of three years, journalist Thomas Laird spent more than sixty hours with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in candid, one-on-one interviews that covered history, science, reincarnation, and Buddhism. Laird brings these meetings to life in rich, vibrant, and monumental work that outlines the essence of thousands of years of civilization, myth, and spirituality. Ti...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published October 10th 2007 by Grove Press (first published 2006)
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This was an excellent Tibetan historical perspective that really made me understand that the Chinese have only really dominated the geographical landscape called China in the last 100 years. It was previously dominated by Mongolians, Manchurians and partially by Tibetans. China is a recent cultural phenomena compared to the antiquity of the Tibetan culture. The blend of the durrent Dalai Lama's historical perspective passed on to him from the Tibetan lamas who were his teachers and told to the c...more
Written more like a college term paper, Thomas Laird's inexperience at historical writing is evident. However, I have to cut him some slack because tackling one of the most controversial geopolitical histories of the world is no small feat, especially given China's almost manic obsession with projecting to the world its rather slanted history of Tibet. (Fearing reprisals and restrictions from China, most learned scholars won't touch Tibetan history with a ten foot pole.)

Having conversations with...more
At a very young age, he had to make decisions that his experience and education did not prepare him for. Tibet's history, culture and geography and the disposition of China's rulers assured that none of the options would have a good result. Through the years, the Dalai Lama has acquired wisdom and grace.

Laird reports the story of Tibet as seen through its spiritual leader. The circumstances of history have left Tibet standing alone, unable to defend itself from neither battle with nor assimilati...more
The author calls this book a "popular history" of Tibet. I'm not sure it even qualifies as that. Most of the history presented is through the eyes of the Dalai Lama who clearly has a less than academic view of Tibet's history. So if that's what you're looking for your not going to find it here.

Also the author doesn't even seem to be concerned about withholding his sympathies for the Tibetan independence cause. The Chinese government does use its interpretation of history as justification for it'...more
Jo Ann
Thank goodness I had already taken several excellent classes on Tibet and the Dalai Lamas before tackling this book! There is much history about the changes in rule over the last 1400 years of Tibet, and knowing this history made me appreciate current history, and the richness of Tibet's culture and Buddhism in this country. I particularly enjoyed Tibet's history moving into the modern era, versus the ancient history. Laird did his homework, and I appreciate that...even more, after hearing the 1...more
Bish Denham
This was an interesting approach to telling about Tibetan history. It is shown through the lens of the 14th Dalai Lama's personal knowledge and distilled from Western and Asian historical records.

Tibet has a complicated history that is unique and yet is similar to many other countries in the world. It is a nation several thousand years old with periods of violence and periods of peace. Most intriguing to me was the close relationship Tibet had with Mongolia and the fact that it was through Tibet...more
Thomas Laird skillfully draws out His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his understanding of Tibet's history and, in the process, interweaves his very interesting perspective on the history of Tibetan Buddhism, particularly aspects of interest to HHDL. It was interesting to go back to the section covering the 10th century when both Tibet and China were ruled by Mongolia while the Olympics were pending to determine how distorted the Chinese view is that Tibet "has always been a part of China." Clearly,...more
A most interesting history of Tibet intertwined with an explanation of the origins of Tibetan Buddhism and it's belief system.
I really found it fascinating and now understand the current conflict with China. A must read for anyone interested in Tibet and the formation of the current
Dalai Lama.
Marsha Altman
The best way to tell a straightforward history of Tibet is not through interviewing a monk, even if that monk is the Dalai Lama. Thomas Laird goes back and forth between standard historical explanations and his conversations with HHTDL about those events, and HHTDL has a variety of things to say, but some of them involve Buddhist concepts of mythology that aren't easy to communicate to a Western mindset - Laird gets visibly lost in the Dalai Lama's explanation of the Guru Rinpoche legends. This...more
After reading a classic political history of Tibet, I decided that I wanted to read more about that mysterious corner of the world. Consisting of discussions between the author and the Dalai Lama over nine years, The Story of Tibet was a wonderful read. Having a decent background in Tibetan history, the Dalai Lama's comments on his past incarnations and their role in Tibet, the two levels of understanding of Tibetan history (cultural/mystical and political), and on the future of Tibet were a new...more
even though there are several centuries of history packed into this book, it never reads as an impersonal text book. The conversations author Thomas Laird had with the Dalai Lama add a very human dimension to the book. The author's loyalties and sympathies are clearly with the pro-independence faction of Tibet's culture, and the book is not an unbiased look at the long history between tibet and china. some of the historical discussions can be difficult to follow without a good working knowledge...more
Tibet holds a special place in the hearts, minds and spirits of many in the West. History, legend, and the thoughts of the present day Dalai Lama combine for an entertaining and enlightening view of Tibet.The Dalai Lama gives his own unique perspective on his country's developments, and shows a remarkable openness in his interpretations of myth and legend.
borrowed this from E's dad years and years ago. we're heading out to GA for T-day to visit him again so figured I needed to make another go at reading (at least skimming) the rest of the book so I could finally return it. unfortunately history just isn't my thing...

to be returned tomorrow, unfinished. wish I had stuck with it. oh well.
Lokesh Joshi
I am infact very impressed by the introduction. :) This book is not political but the history of tibet from the eyer of spirituality and Dalai Lama

Till now its going great. Read manything which I never every knew. Also came to know abt the the absurd claims of China and how a noise from them can make the real history blur.
Michelle Szetela
I really like history, especially as it relates to religion and culture. This is not light reading as such, but Laird writes in such a way that makes the history of Tibet very interesting easy to grasp (which I appreciated, considering I know nothing about the history of that part of the world).
Steve Malley
This book is a really entertaining account of the history of Tibet, written by a friend of the Dalai Lama, with his interjections and memories. It's good, especially for a history book!
Helps understand the old Tibet/China conflict a bit better. Always a joy to read Dalai Lama's words.
Tibet has never been part of China, but parts of China were once ruled by Tibet.
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