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Escape from the Land of Snows: The Young Dalai Lama's Harrowing Flight to Freedom and the Making of a Spiritual Hero

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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  335 ratings  ·  57 reviews
On the evening of March 17, 1959, as the people of Tibet braced for a violent power grab by Chinese occupiers—one that would forever wipe out any vestige of national sovereignty—the twenty-four-year-old Dalai Lama, Tibet’s political and spiritual leader, contemplated the impossible. The task before him was immense: to slip past a cordon of crack Chinese troops ringing his ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 18th 2011 by Crown (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  335 ratings  ·  57 reviews


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Anna
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Lhasa exists around an absence."
Stephan Talty, Epilogue, Escape from the Land of Snows

This amazing story reads like a thriller! It personalizes the tragedy of the fall and absorption of Tibet by the Chinese and the enduring spirit of the Tibetan people.

"Tibet in 1959 was a rumor of a nation, a shadow on the world's collective memory. Off limits to foreigners for decades, it was the object of a romantic longing that had only intensified during the gray dreary confro
...more
Strona po stronie
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
The beginning is written in a weirdly clumsy way, but the rest is good - I liked Talty's no nonsense writing style.

I found this book very interesting, mainly because it presents different cultures, extremely divergent ways of thinking. It also presents human cruelty, which is depressing, but still - very engaging and thought-provoking.
Karin Mika
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
True account of the escape of the Dalai Lama from Tibet after it was invaded (and taken over) by China. The insight into the traditions of Buddhism were fascinating as was the depiction of the Dalai Lama as a pretty amazing human being and political figure. The book is actually pretty even-handed. Under Mao, China didn't simply annex Tibet, but annexed it as part of what it believed fell within traditional Chinese borders. However, it is always tough to annex people who do not feel they are with ...more
Julie
Dec 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vine, non-fiction, own
The history of Tibet and its relationship with China is outlined in this account of the Dalai Lama’s exile during the uprising in 1959. While the writing wasn’t exceptional, the subject was well researched and gave a good background of the political climate of the region at the time. China asserted its authority over Tibet, but there was resistance by the deeply religious people who did not want to be ruled by communists despite the progress and modernization they brought to the isolated nation. ...more
Sherrill
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is an easy read and exciting, too, but that is not to say it lacks deep research or avoids the complexity of China-Tibet relations and Tibetan history and culture. The author does an excellent job showing the good and the bad. He does not romanticize Tibet. There are many interesting aspects to this story and one for me was learning about the CIA’s involvement with the rebels in the 1950s. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Tibet and/or the suppression of freedom.
Mike Pollack
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very good book about a time, place and people that I knew little about. I found the story of the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the eventual uprising and the Dalai Lama’s escape to be quite captivating. It would have been nice if there were some historical and/or modern day images included in the book for the key figures of places. All in all, a good book and I look forward to reading more about Tibet.
Mark "Lefty" Holencik
Very informative about how the Dalai Lama was chosen. Most of his beliefs he was born with. His schooling and training just helped to develop them. The escape to India was the last part of his training which got him ready to be a world figure. Really amazing how much respect Tibetan's have for the Dalai Lama, before, during, and after the escape to India.
Afsha Makhani Williams
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very good. I had to put it down at times because I was so saddened by it at times but overall very good and insightful.
Aubrey Stapp
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really good read, informative, interesting, didn't get bogged down in the tin minutiae of history like some historical nonficts do, I'd definitely recommend.
Gaby

Before reading Escape from the Land of Snows, I had a vague, general understanding of Tibet and the Dalai Lama. I knew Tibet had been invaded by China, its territory is protected by the mountain ranges above Nepal (and Mt. Everest), and that it is a nation of Buddhists and pacifists. I'd seen various movies/books that depicted the selection of the Dalai Lama and about Tibet was aware that much poetic license had been taken - James Hilton's Shangri-La, Tintin in Tibet, Little Buddha, Seven Years
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Jenny Karraker
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing


This was a real page turner that was hard to put down. I remember when the movie Seven Years in Tibet came out and what am impact it made on the the youth. Seems like everyone was passing out literature about Tibet and the oppression by the Chinese, and bumper stickers appeared everywhere, saying Free Tibet. So it was informative to read more about those events. interesting how the search committee had a vision which led them to find this young child and that the child knew their names, was ab
...more
Cornerofmadness
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan
Jan 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amazon-vine-book
Actually the first half of this book is detailed and extremely interesting background leading up to the escape story. The author explains in interesting details how the Dalai Lama was chosen and the story of his training and upbringing. He also tells the fascinating story of what happened from the time the Chinese invaded Tibet until the escape in 1959.

In light of the fact that the Dalai Lama recently announced his retirement from the political side of his job, I found this story important and
...more
Brian Bigelow
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness." ~ Dalai Lama

This is a very amazing viewpoint for anyone to have in my opinion. Every persons life is a journey and this book looks at the life's journey of the Dalai Lama.

A fascinating and thoughtfully written story that has been thoroughly researched by Mr. Talty. While reading this book I could easily envision the people and places. Especially interesting was the political and military history of Tibet. Also of interest to me was the int
...more
Lynn


Short, wonderful account of the Dalai Lama' s flight from Tibet. China for centuries kept Tibet under suzerainty where officials from China were tolerated as Tibet had gone its own way. It had a history of not allowing foreigners into the country in order to keep their culture and traditions intact even killing those who came. Eventually the British came and the Chinese invaded in 1959. As the Chinese officially claimed Tibet as its own, other powerful countries were not in the mood for challe
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Carol
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There is no doubt I have rated this book high as a result of having traveled to Tibet, specifically Lhasa. Having heard the story from our tour guide while there is was wonderful to read all of the details and history leading up to the Dahli Lama's escape from his homeland. I will credit our tour guide with having done a very good job with the reader's digest version of events. The book came alive as the author described the various monasteries and palaces knowing we had walked the same streets ...more
Alison
Jan 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
After finishing Tetsu Saiwai's manga bio of the 14th Dali Lama (highly rec for all ages), decided I needed to fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge of his life.
I was looking for a book that informed me about the Lhasa Uprising 52 years ago, that gave me insight into the Dali Lama's trek across the Himalayas fleeing certain death at the hands of Mao's PLA & his growth from a sheltered child king-god into the modern Nobel Laureate in 1989. This book fell woefully short in my expectations.
...more
L
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to L by: NPR book review
This book describes the flight of the young Dalai Lama's flight to freedom in 1959 from Tibet to India during the Chinese invasion. The story starts from the time the Dalai Lama is chosen as a small boy to modern day.
This story helped to put together all the pieces I remember of the Dalai Lama's life. He was in Minnesota a few months ago when I was there, so his appearance renewed my interest in this story. I heard a review last year on NPR about the book, which had not been released yet,
...more
Michael Kerr
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book covering the early life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his escape from the Chinese, is well researched without falling into the weighty academic category. Beginning with his identification as the incarnation as the 14th Dalai Lama, the narrative provides glimpses of the very closed society he was born into and traces his gradual evolution into the great leader he has become. The uprising of 1959, during which the escape took place, provides the central drama of the book. Talty's ha ...more
Hpstrangelove
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Fascinating, true, story. I listened to the audiobook because my son was reading it for English class. I prefer fiction but like to know what he's reading so we can discuss it.

The beginning of the book was a bit boring to me, but I think that's because it was more factual than 'fictional'. After several chapters, I became more interested in the story and the 'characters'. It was difficult at times to read, knowing that these characters were real, and that the things that had happened to them we
...more
Heep
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some people's lives defy all odds and explanations. The Dalai Lama is one. His birth and early life are so distant from his later life that it beggars description. This book does a marvellous job of telling the tale, the history of the Dalai Lamas and of Tibet. Only the last portion (the authors trip to Tibet) is a bit of a disappointment and detracts from the whole. It is still a very interesting book and well recommended. The narration in the audio version is a treat.
Adam
May 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-ebooks
An excellent view into the early life of the Dalai Lama. This gives you an interesting perspective on what experience formed the man we hear about and from today. What I also found particularly interesting was Talty's insights on Task Force Tibet, and the both the U.S. and world response to blatant PRC aggression in this country.
Anastasia
Jul 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Pretty good, but I was reading a lot of non-fiction and hit a wall with this book. I had to take a break and that cut the momentum and thus the readability of the book. In retrospect, I might have rather read one of the Dalai Lama's own biographies. Nonetheless, this was interesting and I learned a lot. I have even greater respect now for the Dalai Lama.
Maureen
May 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
I saw this book displayed on the "new books" bookcase in the E.L. library and knew it was a must read. It would fill in the blanks of my knowledge about how the Dalai Lama, one of my personal heroes, got to India. However, I was not sure I could get through it. So much sadness! So much violence! However, the depth and descriptions and wide view of the author kept me going. Glad I read it.
Sandy
Jul 24, 2016 rated it liked it
There was a lot of historical background on Tibet, some of which surprised me, such as CIA involvement helping the Dali Lama's escape but there is no suspense in the story, just a rather stodgy narration of China's violent takeover of Tibet and the otherwise prosaic escape Of the Dali and his hundreds of loyal supporters.
Sandra
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was very educational. I appreciated the gathering of information that the author took to write this book. I found it to be accurate portrayal of the escape of the young Dalai Lama. After reading this book, I found the epilogue to be perhaps the most interesting chapter, The author goes to Lhasa in 2009.
Deanna (Anya)
Feb 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like history stories
Not the type of thing I usually read. But a fantastic life story of the fourteenth Dalai Lamais trek out of war torn Tibet. The personal strength and vigilance that it took for the entire group to tackle the mountainous trek and risk their lives to save their lives. Good history details and well written. Highly recommend it.
Joy
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars

This book certainly doesn't live up to its title or its cover in terms of suspense and human interest for me. The writing is good and informational, and there are brief episodes that are heart-wrenching, but overall, I found it scattered and dry.
Christine
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was well-written and informative. I had heard of the struggle in Tibet, but knew very little about it. This book had a nice balance of interest and facts without being overwhelming in the detail. I learned quite a bit and am now interested in reading more on the topic.
Mathew
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
My first exposure to the struggle of the Tibetan people and the Dali llama. Very interesting section on the search for the re-incarnated 14th as a child and the signs they looked for as proof they had found him.
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Stephan Talty is the New York Times bestselling author of six acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction, as well as the Abbie Kearney crime novels. Originally from Buffalo, he now lives outside New York City.

Talty began as a widely-published journalist who has contributed to the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Men’s Journal, Time Out New York, Details, and many other publications. He is the auth
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