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Escape From the Land of Snows by Stephan Talty - Excerpt

Escape From the Land of Snows by Stephan Talty - Excerpt

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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 summer palace and, with an escort of 300, journey across the highest terrain in the world and over treacherous Himalayan passes to freedom—one step ahead of pursuing Chinese soldiers.

Mao Zedung, China’s ruthless Communist dictator, had pinned his hopes for total Tibetan submission on controlling the impressionable Dalai Lama. So beloved was the young ruler—so identified with his country’s essence—that for him to escape might mean perpetual resistance from a population unwilling to tolerate an increasingly brutal occupation. The Dalai Lama’s minders sent word to the Tibetan rebels and CIA-trained guerrillas who waited on the route: His Holiness must escape—at all costs.

In many ways, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was unprepared for the epic journey awaiting him. Twenty-two years earlier, government search parties, guided by prophecies and omens, had arrived at the boy’s humble peasant home and subjected the two-year-old to a series of tests. After being declared the reincarnation of Tibet’s previous ruler, the boy was brought to Lhasa to learn the secrets of Buddhism and the ways of ultimate power. Forced in the ensuing two decades to cope with aching loneliness and often stifling ritual—and compelled to suppress his mischievous personality—Gyatso eventually proved himself a capable leader. But no previous Dalai Lama had ever taken on a million Communist Chinese soldiers bent on stamping out Tibetan freedom.

To keep his country’s dream of independence alive by means of a government in exile, the young ruler would not only have to brave battalions of enemy soldiers and the whiteout conditions waiting on the slopes of the Himalayas’ highest peaks, he’d have to overcome a different type of blindness: the naïveté intrinsic to his sheltered palace life and his position as leader of a people who considered violence deeply taboo.

His mind made up, the young Dalai Lama set off on his audacious journey to India while behind him a Chinese army rolled over Lhasa, its advance hunter patrols in fierce pursuit of the man they most coveted. The 14th’s escape was an act of daring and defiance that represented Tibet’s last hope, and so the world watched, transfixed, as the gentle monk’s journey unfolded.

Emotionally powerful and irresistibly page-turning, Escape from the Land of Snows is simultaneously a portrait of the inhabitants of a spiritual nation forced to take up arms in defense of their ideals, and the saga of an initially childlike ruler who at first wore his monk’s robes uncomfortably but was ultimately transformed by his escape into the towering figure the world knows today—a charismatic champion of free thinking and universal compassion.

To read more about Escape from the Land of Snows or Stephan Talty please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com.
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 summer palace and, with an escort of 300, journey across the highest terrain in the world and over treacherous Himalayan passes to freedom—one step ahead of pursuing Chinese soldiers.

Mao Zedung, China’s ruthless Communist dictator, had pinned his hopes for total Tibetan submission on controlling the impressionable Dalai Lama. So beloved was the young ruler—so identified with his country’s essence—that for him to escape might mean perpetual resistance from a population unwilling to tolerate an increasingly brutal occupation. The Dalai Lama’s minders sent word to the Tibetan rebels and CIA-trained guerrillas who waited on the route: His Holiness must escape—at all costs.

In many ways, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was unprepared for the epic journey awaiting him. Twenty-two years earlier, government search parties, guided by prophecies and omens, had arrived at the boy’s humble peasant home and subjected the two-year-old to a series of tests. After being declared the reincarnation of Tibet’s previous ruler, the boy was brought to Lhasa to learn the secrets of Buddhism and the ways of ultimate power. Forced in the ensuing two decades to cope with aching loneliness and often stifling ritual—and compelled to suppress his mischievous personality—Gyatso eventually proved himself a capable leader. But no previous Dalai Lama had ever taken on a million Communist Chinese soldiers bent on stamping out Tibetan freedom.

To keep his country’s dream of independence alive by means of a government in exile, the young ruler would not only have to brave battalions of enemy soldiers and the whiteout conditions waiting on the slopes of the Himalayas’ highest peaks, he’d have to overcome a different type of blindness: the naïveté intrinsic to his sheltered palace life and his position as leader of a people who considered violence deeply taboo.

His mind made up, the young Dalai Lama set off on his audacious journey to India while behind him a Chinese army rolled over Lhasa, its advance hunter patrols in fierce pursuit of the man they most coveted. The 14th’s escape was an act of daring and defiance that represented Tibet’s last hope, and so the world watched, transfixed, as the gentle monk’s journey unfolded.

Emotionally powerful and irresistibly page-turning, Escape from the Land of Snows is simultaneously a portrait of the inhabitants of a spiritual nation forced to take up arms in defense of their ideals, and the saga of an initially childlike ruler who at first wore his monk’s robes uncomfortably but was ultimately transformed by his escape into the towering figure the world knows today—a charismatic champion of free thinking and universal compassion.

To read more about Escape from the Land of Snows or Stephan Talty please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com.

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Publish date: Jan 18, 2011
Added to Scribd: Nov 22, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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Copyright © 2010 by Stephan Talty  All rights reserved.Published in the United States by Crown Publishers, an imprint of theCrown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. www.crownpublishing.comCROWN and the Crown colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataTalty, Stephan.Escape from the land of snows: the young Dalai Lama’s harrowing flightto freedom and the making of a spiritual hero / Stephan Talty.—1st ed.1. Bstan-’dzin-rgya-mtsho, Dalai Lama XIV, 1935– —Childhood andyouth. 2. Escapes—China—Tibet. I. Title.BQ7935.B777T36 2010294.3'923092—dc22 2010019827[B]ISBN 978-0-307-46095-0Printed in the United States of America
Design by Maria Elias  Maps by Je 
 f  
rey L. Ward 
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1First Edition

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eheinlen_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I don't generally like books that have to have a cast of characters at the beginning of them, but this book was interesting and had excellent, simply writing that made it very easy-to-read and quick to read. Not my favorite book, but not bad either.
gaby317 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
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 in Tibet.Escape from the Land of Snows deftly combines a glimpse into the Dalai Lama's personal history with the historical and political events that have shaped Tibet. We learn how the Dalai Lama is selected; from the process of selection to the conditions that must be fulfilled - and this is explained in its sociocultural and political context. Stephen Talty makes the Dalai Lama come alive both as the political, religious and cultural figure that he is and on a personal level.Talty starts in 1935 with the passing of previous Dalai Lama and the search for his successor. I'd had all sorts of Hollywood misconceptions as to the method of finding the successor and found the detailed description fascinating. We learn the details of the Dalai Lama's life from the moment that he was "found"- in Amdo, an obscure village 1,000 miles (2 months' travel) from the capital Lhasa. I was fascinated by the specific ways in which the monks are able to identify and confirm the identity of the next Dalai Lama. We learn how the three year old boy was raised, tutored, and shaped to become Tibet's spiritual leader. Separated from his family with the exception of his younger brothers - one of whom was disciplined when the Dalai Lama misbehaved - the new Dalai Lama is raised in the traditional way by elderly monks.Talty recounts what it was like for the Dalai Lama as a lonely young boy raised by monks in the palace in Lhasa and revered by the Tibetan people. As I read about his acts of generosity and mercy, such as releasing the inmates from the nearby prison, it was clear that the Dalai Lama sees the world very differently. We learn how his trusting and generous nature - his celebration of the good in others - played out in the negotiations with Mao and the People's Republic of China. Mao's desire to reintegrate Tibet into China and the increasing ruthlessness of China's foreign policy resulted in heartbreaking attacks on Tibetan monks, citizens, and the Tibetan government.As Talty shares the harrowing details of those last days and of the Dalai Lama's escape from Lhasa during those turbulent days, we see the strength of the Dalai Lama's love for his country and his people and just how much he means to Tibet and the Tibetan people.Escape from the Land of Snows: The Young Dalai Lama's Harrowing Flight to Freedom and the Making of a Spiritual Hero is more than an engrossing read, it's a story that needs to be shared.ISBN-10: 9780307460950 - HardcoverPublisher: Crown; 1 edition (January 18, 2011), 320 pages.Review copy acquired through the Amazon Vine program.
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Good Day, My name Mr Roland Philip I work as a banker in one of the banks which i will mention to you latter here in Lome Togo.We had a client who died in a ghastly accident. He had the sum of $7,500,000 in an account with us.Our communication will be better if you have a yahoo email, gmail.com, hotmail.com . Please reply to this email (rolandphilip02@live.com) Thanks and Regards. Roland Philip
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