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Seven Years in Tibet

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  19,719 ratings  ·  1,070 reviews
Recounts how the author, an Austrian, escaped from an English internment camp in India in 1943 and spent the next seven years in Tibet, observing its social practices, religion, politics, and people.
Paperback, 330 pages
Published August 25th 1997 by Tarcher (first published 1953)
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Glauber Ribeiro That's not in the book. Something the movie, maybe?…moreThat's not in the book. Something the movie, maybe?(less)

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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  19,719 ratings  ·  1,070 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, book-to-film
”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
I read this book many decades ago. It was interesting. However, I kept asking myself: What did Heinrich Harrer live on until he reached Lhasa after about two years? He had no money. He had no provisions. He had no weapons to shoot animals to eat. And while traveling, he, definitely, had no land to grow any food.

From what I remember, there were also no tales that he asked for or was granted hospitality by the inhabitants of the areas he passed.

I don't think that anyone will be able to survive o
Lynne King
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tibet
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.
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
First off let me say that the writing of this book is nothing spectacular, it's adequate for this type of book and gets all the facts across without lots of embellishment. However, the content is an amazing travelogue of Heinrich Harrier's journey through Tibet and his eventual friendship with his Holiness the Dalai Lama. Quite a large portion of the seven years was spent actually travelling. Harrer doesn't go into a lot of detail about all the climbing and trekking his friend Peter and himself ...more
Maria V. Snyder
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an ideal book to read before going to visit Tibet. It helped to give me a deeper understanding of the place and the people.
Sieben Jahre in Tibet
By Heinrich Harrer

This edition was published in 1956 in the German language.

The book is a travellers recount of adventures based on diaries kept throughout these years.

Reading, in the beginning, felt like a continuation of Sven Hedin’s “My Life as an Explorer.”
Hedin had extensively travelled the same parts of the world at the end of the 19th century.

This is my second reading of “Seven Years in Tibet”, the first one was in the 60ies, shortly after its first publication.

In tho
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
Oct 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Absolutely fascinating; it's a pity the prose was on the pedestrian side. One wonders what a Patrick Leigh Fermor or an Eric Newby would have made of the same material. ...more
Daniel Clausen
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this book in fits and starts between breaks in class. Restlessness has been the case for me lately. Perhaps the cure is travel books like these. Books that are easy to pick up, put down, and pick up again.

The book made no grand promises-- instead the author proposed to give me his notes plainly told about his journey through Tibet, a journey that began just prior to the second World War and ended a few years after it. The author did not over-promise, and sticking to his world, early on,
Fascinating non-fiction travelogue by Heinrich Harrer. Harrer was a skier and mountain climber. He was scaling a mountain in the Himalayas when the British declared war on Germany. He was taken prisoner but escaped many times. He escaped not because the prison camp was so bad but because he was at heart an adventurer. Eventually he, and others, reached Tibet, which was neutral in the war. But Tibet was also secluded and did not like foreigners to be traveling in their country. Harrer and another ...more
Jul 16, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Nov 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I’ve had this book for years and finally decided I needed to prioritize it as 2019 was the 60th anniversary of the occupation of Tibet and exile of the Dalai Lama. Let that sink in. 60 years have gone by and generations of Tibetans continue to live without justice.

Heinrich Herrer describes his multiple escapes from imprisonment and his journey to Lhasa (an incredible experience in itself) toward the end of WWII. As he travels around Tibet, he describes the people and the culture, which seems to
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
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Horace Derwent
Mar 23, 2020 marked it as to-read
watched the brad pitt film again and wanta hava good read
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-books-read
While the writing style is somewhat dated and lacking, I still highly enjoyed the tales of Heinrich Harrer and his sojourn in Tibet. The settings are so well developed it allows you travel along with the adventures and the struggles.
Mar 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Heinrich Harrer was an Austrian mountain climber. In 1939 he is in India when World War II breaks out. He is taken to a detention camp in Bombay. He escapes and heads toward Tibet. At that time Tibet did not allow outsiders into their country. He walks, hides and runs until he crosses the Tibet boarder. Then he has to use all his skills to trick and deceive his way past daunting Tibetan officials. He walks seventy days over rugged mountainous terrain before he reaches Lhasa, the capital of Tibet ...more
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
This the second time that I've watched this movie and I've never got tired of it. ...more
Shubhi Agarwal
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best part about travel books...? You see the entire world sitting within the four walls. The wonderful things the writer saw, his exhilarating experiences, the people he meets, all seem like they're happening to us as a first person.
Same applies to this travelogue. There is quite less the world knows about Tibet, and this book is the first person account of a German mountaineer who escapes British prison in India during WWII and seeks shelter in Tibet. His numerious encounters with Tibetan p
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, travel
What a great opportunity to revel in the culture of Tibet prior to the invasion by communist China! Thoroughly fascinating!! Harrer, an Austrian mountaineer & youth Nazi party member, is interned in India by the British during the start of WWII. He escapes with a few others and is determined to make his way through Tibet, a land that admits few foreigners to a limited area, to Japanese held territory. He endures many hardships and barriers a long the way but eventually, through perseverance and ...more
An oldie but still full of a lost time before Tibet was invaded by the Chinese. The writing is a bit dull but you have to pay homage to the author and his many talents that saw him an escape POW, mountaineer, traveller, teacher to the Dalai Lama, garden designer, civil servant, photographer and film maker (amongst many other achievements).
Jun 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Read the first half of this book for a true adventure. Read the second half if you're really, really interested in Tibetan culture in the mid-20th century, seen through a pair of alternately keen and myopic eyes. ...more
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book has sat on my shelves for years waiting to be read. I am sorry that I waited so long. It was such a great book with rich details of the journey, sites, festivals and customs of Tibet and the people. At times, it almost reads as a history of Tibet at one point in time.
Vishal Khatri
May 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
"Some books, like some mountains, are lonely and unrivalled peaks." ...more
Elena N
May 23, 2015 marked it as abandoned
Shelves: nf
There is another way to know what happened to Harrer during those years and that is to watch the movie. Much better than the book.
Harinarayan Sreenivasan
That was one hell of a travelogue. One of the most moving books I have read. The author writes about his journey through Tibet and how he became friends with a teenage Dalai Lama. The author was one of the handful Europeans who intimately knew Tibet, its people and their culture. The book ends with a sad note and leaves the reader with a sense of loss, for a very large percentage of Tibet as the author knew it is destroyed since the Chinese invasion of 1951. The author truly is fortunate to have ...more
Ming Wei
A very good adventure book into the unknow, how a European adapted within a strange land, and culture to his own. A old type of adventure book, before the age of mass travel around the world, a very interesting story based in a country, that up until that point very few european people had entered into. Well written book, the book is as good as the film in my opinion, I really enjoyed it, the story flows at just the right pace, which allows the reader to understand and process what is happening ...more
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ACPL Online Book ...: Seven Years in Tibet-July 2 9 Jul 12, 2017 12:48PM  

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Heinrich Harrer was an Austrian mountaineer, sportsman, geographer, and author. He is best known for being on the four-man climbing team that made the first ascent of the North Face of the Eiger in Switzerland, and for his books Seven Years in Tibet (1952) and The White Spider (1959).

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