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Murder in the High Himalaya: Loyalty, Tragedy and Escape from Tibet

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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  264 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Chinese police are instructed to take any measures necessary to protect the border of Tibet. When a group of climbers witness the murder of a young Tibetan nun who is fleeing to India, two men have a choice: turn a blind eye and preserve their climbing careers or alert the world to the grand scale of human injustice played out daily in Tibet.
Kindle Edition, 306 pages
Published (first published May 11th 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 837)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This is a story that could practically tell itself, and it's one that should have been gripping every step of the way. Instead, the author seems to have gone out of his way to make it dry and disjointed and hard to follow. Not bad, but could have been better.
It's sort of a crossbred look at the climbing community (not pretty) and the brutal Chinese treatment of Tibetans who want to escape to Nepal (also not pretty).
Mag
A very important book for anybody interested in Tibet, modern China, human rights, and climbing.

It deals with an incident which became known as Nangpa La shooting/murder. In this incident, a 17 year old nun was attempting to cross the border to Nepal when she was shot at from behind and killed. The incident, in itself not so rare, was for the first time captured on camera and therefore documented, and subsequently made headlines and brought awareness to the plight of Tibet around the world.

Ther
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Priscilla
Apr 07, 2011 Priscilla rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in Tibet, human rights, and investigative journalism
Murder in the High Himalaya is an exquisitely crafted tale that depicts nearly indescribable horrors. It is actually three vivid stories, woven seamlessly together: the heroic attempts of impoverished Tibetans to survive economically, culturally and spiritually; the ethical dilemma of wealthy Westerners faced with choosing between dangerous self-indulgence and moral imperative; and the abuse and torture inflicted by the Chinese as they pursue genocide in their relentless drive for world dominanc ...more
Dianne
What can I say about this powerful accounting of a complex, multifaceted tragedy? I'll start by saying that the duality in its message profoundly affected me...heroism vs. cowardice, humility vs. egocentricity,desperate fear vs. unbounded courage, altruism by doing good for good's own sake vs. doing good to look good to others, calamitous deceit vs. faithful blind trust, utter helplessness vs. unwavering hope...
Mr. Green's command of timing, tone and descriptive settings had me hooked and I fou
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Kathryn
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It has much for many different readers. First, the glimpses into climbing culture were fascinating! In many ways, climbing is not what I thought it was and I think this aspect of "Murder in the High Himalaya" will most interesting to many of readers.

Reading about the Chinese domination of Tibet is disturbing. I was mindful as I was reading of the many regimes throughout the world that hold their people under tight control and what a nightmare that can be.

This was
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Michael
A good book that will make you angry. I love how everyone ignores the fact that China has invaded countries like Mongolia and Tibet but yet nothing is done. Guess it's because they have no oil. But anyway, a good book. Kinda sad.... Kinda aggravating.... Kinda educational. Definitely a story that needed to be known. A good read for modern history. I usually prefer older history, but I learned a lot from this book and I personally consider it an important piece to teach people of the horrible thi ...more
Valentina
For anyone who calls himself or herself a humanitarian, this book should be on your list to read. It is the harrowing story of a young Tibetan nun trying to make it across the border into India along with her best friend and a large group of Tibetans, to gain freedom, religious and otherwise, from a stifling Chinese rule.
This is a non-fiction book but it reads so smoothly, without the endless citing of statistics or names that can make some books of that genre seem stilted. The chapters alternat
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Jody
I rated this book five stars for the concise but captivating rendition of the lives of modern-day Tibetans and for its description of the power of China to manipulate the facts. Like "Zeitoun," I think this book is a must-read for anyone interested in learning about events as they actually occurred, rather than how they have been presented to us. The author's website has the Romanian video of the shooting described in the book.
Ruth
The book seems written to avoid sucking in the reader: it starts with a rather dry, reporterly sketch of two rural Tibetan girls, their families, daily lives and friendship. Then the narrative switches to a similarly dry description of a mountain-climbing guide's preparation for leading a climb. The story keeps switching back and forth between the two narratives with no explanation of what they have to do with each other. The dramatic events that led the author to investigate the lives of these ...more
Julie
I initially didn’t think I was going to like this book because of the slow start and the myriad of foreign names and locations. The author had to integrate the history of the Tibet/China hostilities into the parallel stories of the Tibetan refugees and the mountaineering expedition of Luis Benitez on Cho Oyu. By the time all the introductions were made and the tension began, I was hooked. I had developed strong sympathy for the two teenage refugees, Kelsang and Dolma, who were seeking a better l ...more
Brigid
Audiobook: Narrator not the strong suit, but a riveting story. I am thoroughly disgusted with the climbers who witnessed this tragedy and did nothing at the time or later. Well-researched and timeless, this story will touch you, unless you're a mountain climber of the type in this book. Though Dolma can't return to Tibet, I admire perseverance and strength. I hope she gets over her survivor's guilt. Bonitez was not a likable person, even as he tried to make things right. He did seem too egocentr ...more
sendann
Well told with a lot of momentum. This could have been a kind of detailed, hard to follow story with vague, institutional characters, but it's a very well done book and reads like an epic magazine article. I mean that in a good way! Anyway, I failed to get through Fallen Giants, the history of Himalayan Mountaineering. This book offers a nice capsule review of the same history, and traces the legacy of attitudes and cultural quirks of mountaineers in a way that I found very satisfying, which may ...more
Susan
This book is disturbing on several levels. One is that it reveals some of the worst of the commercialism that has taken over climbing the highest mountain peaks. The other is that it tells the true story of Tibetans and the horrors of their lives under Chinese rule.

The story follows several groups of people as they prepare to cross the Nangpa La in the fall of 2006. Green tells the story of people in the village of Juchen which consists of 70 crudely constructed sandstone houses clinging to the
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Mark Miller
In attempting to write a review of Mr. Green’s heart-wrenching book, I feel like there is so much that needs to be said. There is not enough room on this blog to post it all, but I have some thoughts I would like to share.

First, there is the author’s writing style. More than an account of a tragic event, he puts his heart into this story. It is far more than a fact-based report. As I told him, when I read his descriptions of the land, I can see his love for that part of the world. The mountains
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Stefanie
Tibet remains such a mysterious country, previously due to its closed borders to foreigners and in contemporary times due to Chinese colonisation and repression. So, writing a book about the murder of a 17 year old Tibetan refugee seeking to fulfill her dream of becoming a nun, meeting the Dalai Lama and discovering her Tibetan roots is no mean feat. Yet, Jonathan Green has done just that and more. True, it helps that the murder of Kelsang Namtso became an international story - no thanks to the ...more
Lynn
Terrific story about a group of Tibetans, many women and children, trying to escape from Tibet, only to be shot down by Chinese Authorities. The story is told by a journalist who interviews survivors who escaped and by foreign mountain climbers who witnessed the shootings and killings. Shocking is the way the climbers debate about whether to tell others or not about the shooting. The climbers fear Chinese authorities and fear even more strongly, their access to the mountains they want to climb i ...more
Joy
My mind is still spinning after reading Jonathan Green's Murder in the High Himalaya: Loyalty, Tragedy and Escape from Tibet. Green's gripping account of the escape attempt & murder of a Tibetan nun, is spellbinding. In the shadow of the highest peaks in the world, over 40 individuals from Tibet seek to find refuge in India, and under the thumb of the Chinese government. This nonfiction account reads like a fast-paced thriller, told from the perspective of two young Tibetan girls planning th ...more
Robert
The author was a pretty good story teller but he is not a great writer. The book felt like a pretty good manuscript that needed another couple of revisions with a really good editor. Green would provide insights or explanations in a chapter and then give them again a couple of chapters later as though it was being given for the first time.

With all that being said, I would still recommend this book. It is short enough that the negatives in the writing can be looked tolerated. Most importantly, t
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Nick Schlag
When I finished this book I really kind of wished that I could give it six stars to distinguish it from the multitude of very good books that I have read and rated with five stars. This book is a lot of things at the same time: a great lesson on Chinese-Tibetan history, an inside look at the culture of commercial mountaineering, an interesting commentary on the microcosmic interface between between the East and West in the Himalayas, and a heart-wrenching narrative of a horrible atrocity (don't ...more
Paige Pell
We are woefully unaware of the tragedy and oppression that populates the lives of many of our fellow citizens on this planet. This book tells the tales, both tragic and triumphant of what humans will endure in the efforts to obtain freedom. The fact that the journey described took place in 2006 does not diminish the immediacy of the story. For those that have heard of but not necessarily explored the "Free Tibet" movement, this book can give you some insights on the suffering of the Tibetan peop ...more
Mary
The incredible sotry of two teenage girls, best friends, from rural Tibet who decided to risk everything for a dream they nursed since childhood to meet the Dalai Lama. To do so they would have to cross three countries in a highly perilous journey that would take them over the passes of the mighty and brutal High Himalaya, all in defiance of China's military machine. It's the story of those who give everything for freedom and those still, who sacrifice everything to tell the truth.

Paperback, Ma
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Shomeret
Since I feel strongly about the issue of Tibetan independence, books on this topic cause me to indulge myself in long rants in my handwritten book journal. I will attempt not to waste space on GR with a rant.

What I learned from this book is that for Tibetans surviving a journey from Tibet to see the Dalai Lama in India, depends on the whether they have offered a good sized bribe to Chinese security forces. The Chinese occupation of Tibet has become a matter of business, just like the Himalayan
...more
Chris Ross
I listened to the audio book, 7 discs long. The first 4 discs were pretty boring. Only about 1/3 of the way through Disc 5 (when the shooting started) did this book really grab my attention and hold my interest. I understand why the historical material was included though the story could have been told more succinctly.

This book really raises some provocative and poignant questions and exposes demons that I believe each of us carries or harbors whether we know it or not.

Essentially this book is
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Rene
I won this book from the Goodreads giveaways program. It is startling and opened up my eyes as to what has been happening in Tibet for over 50 years. It reads like a documentary and follows several characters linked to a horrifying execution of a young woman in a band of refugees from Tibet desperately trying to cross the Himalayas into Nepal.
Greg Lundberg
In addition to telling the harrowing true life account of a group of Tibetans escape and the murder of a young nun, Jonathan Green does an excellent job of educating the reader about the history of the Tibetan people and the oppression of the Chinese. I found this book both enlightening as well as entertaining. Highly recommended.
Emily
Jun 24, 2011 Emily is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism, first-reads
I just received the First Reads copy of this book yesterday and got started reading.

Update: I am really enjoying this book. So many interesting details about the culture and history of Tibet! This is a book I am inclined to carry around in my purse so I can sneak in a page here and there.
Glenn
A very chilling account of a group of Tibetans trying to flee to India and visit His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The story of the murder of a young nun is just heartbreaking, but what is worse is the lack of action by the mountain climbing community, and the West in general.
Kristin
Brought the reality home of what life continues to be like for Tibetans under Chinese rule,coupled with a close look at the personalities involved in world of mountain climbing. Arouses some latent emotions about the injustices occurring in Tibet. Well-written and researched.
Erin


This book fascinated me. I didn't quite know what to expect and was very pleasantly surprised with the writing and storytelling of the author. This book made me think and reflect on my "easy" life. Highly recommended.
Daniel Bratell
Jan 23, 2014 Daniel Bratell rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People that care about people
This is one of those books whose shortcomings in the literary area is compensated by the weight of the story.

In 2006 something happened in Tibet, something that probably happens many times per year, but for once it was caught on film, film that was later spread outside China.

This book tells the story of those months, of those people, on all sides except the Chinese Army (which I guess were not interested in talking about what they had done) and it's a story that would make everyone sad, that wou
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Review 2 14 Jun 30, 2011 05:47PM  
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