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Tibet: A History

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  112 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Situated north of the Himalayas, Tibet is famous for its unique culture and its controversial assimilation into modern China. Yet Tibet in the twenty-first century can only be properly understood in the context of its extraordinary history.

Sam van Schaik brings the history of Tibet to life by telling the stories of the people involved, from the glory days of the Tibetan e
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Yale University Press (first published May 2011)
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Jun 26, 2015 Hadrian rated it really liked it
This book accomplishes the difficult task of summarizing a thousand years of history of a place into 300 pages. It is an easy and entertaining read, and covers unknown topics with depth.

I enjoyed the chapters on the earliest history of Tibet, including the Tibetan seizure of Chang'an in 763, their relations with the Song court, and the introduction of Buddhism. In these earliest chapters, Van Schaik manages to find the history within the legends, and his use of early Tibetan and Chinese sources
Pat Rolston
May 11, 2016 Pat Rolston rated it really liked it
Sam Van Schaik writes in a manner allowing for leisurely reading yet highly informative Tibetan history from 700 AD to present in only 269 pages. Don't be deterred by the seemingly impossible task of writing decent 1,300 year history in this length as it is brevity at it's best. The author captures the Chinese-Tibetan dynamic wonderfully with vignettes that result in a thorough understanding and very enjoyable reading experience. Perfect for anyone seeking a basic understanding of an amazing peo ...more
Marsha Altman
Nov 10, 2012 Marsha Altman rated it really liked it
Shelves: tibet
Recommended. The most straightforward and concise history of Tibet available in American and British markets. If you're familiar with Tibetan history, it's probably a little controversial on the subjects of Tibet's early history, which itself makes it interesting.
Jessica Zu
Jul 03, 2015 Jessica Zu rated it really liked it
a pretty good story about tibetan history, for general public, and maybe some undergraduate teaching
Bruno Lucas
Mar 06, 2017 Bruno Lucas rated it really liked it
A very readable and balanced biography of Tibet. This book delivered exactly what I was hoping: a basic knowledge of Tibet's story, and some understanding of the controversy around its history.
As the author points out in his introduction, the debate over Tibet's identity has turned into a war, and " in a war like this, history plays perhaps the most important role". One side of the debate points out that Tibet has always been strongly linked to China, having lived under its influence since the X
A good primer that would have been better with less Buddhism and more politics, economics, and social structures.
Jul 12, 2017 Vishu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic overview of the layered and complex history of Tibet.
Dec 03, 2016 John rated it it was amazing
The most comprehensive, readable, and best summary of Tibetan history out there.
Tim C
Dec 23, 2013 Tim C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, tibet, phd
This book is an excellent introduction to the complex and often contentious history of Tibet. It manages to convey an admirably balanced overview (especially of the recent past). As a concise narrative history it is informed by a very clear, scholarly interpretation of its source material, yet at the same time it remains a highly engaging read. The chapters are set out in a clear and logical chronology with a deft lightness of touch in terms of occasional references linking either forwards or ba ...more
Mar 07, 2014 Annie rated it it was amazing
Dr. van Schaik writes clearly, concisely, in a way that is scholarly and grounded but absolutely page-turning. He uses dynamic storytelling without sensationalizing the material. Going back to the 7th century, van Schaik uses the order of elements to break certain assumptions about Tibet (for example, he begins the first chapter with the invasion of Chang'an in 763 and then backtracks to question how the conditions for this invasion came about). Throughout the book he deftly weaves material toge ...more
Sep 16, 2015 Andrew rated it it was amazing
Spatially and religiously, a well balanced history of Tibet. I thought the strongest points were the author's commitment to giving us a rich understanding of divisions within Tibet over 1500 years of history. We explains the genesis of all the major, and many of the minor, schools of Tibetan Buddhism and their political roles in U, Tsang, Kham, and Amdo. While the book tends to be more of a history of Central Tibet, van Schaik still tends to the history of its larger, more powerful neighbors wit ...more
Dec 26, 2011 Ringo rated it really liked it
As a Chinese, I hate the western historians to use "Chinese" to refer to "Han" ethnicity, also I felt so awkward to see them refer each political dynasty to "China". This will unconsciously give the readers the impression that "China" and "Tibet" and many other parts of China are separated.

Other than this, I felt this book especially useful to provide empirical information to understand the autonomous region of Tibet.
Barbara O'Brien
Jun 05, 2014 Barbara O'Brien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are looking for a readable one-volume history of Tibet, this is it. I would have given it five stars, except that I found a few small errors in the Kindle edition. It's possible the print edition is fine.
Yang Xiang
May 11, 2013 Yang Xiang rated it really liked it
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Adelina Vaca
Aug 07, 2016 Adelina Vaca rated it it was amazing
Aug 18, 2011 John rated it really liked it
Succinct, scholarly, and very well written -- van Schaik's history of Tibet accomplishes a rare triumvirate.
Matt Root
Sep 09, 2015 Matt Root rated it really liked it
This book does a good job of surveying the complicated political and religious histories of this fascinating land that is often discussed but rarely explained in our media.
Jul 03, 2013 Christopher rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A great country biography and despite the topic matter happily devoid of hippy bullshit or romanticized depictions of Buddhism.
Jack Holt
Jack Holt rated it it was amazing
Apr 12, 2015
Richard Chan
Richard Chan rated it it was amazing
Aug 21, 2012
Andrew Ong
Andrew Ong rated it really liked it
Jul 19, 2014
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Nov 04, 2011
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Lourdes M. Espinoza
Lourdes M. Espinoza rated it it was amazing
Jun 15, 2017
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