A great read for Tibetophiles old and new.

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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

A riveting, informed narrative about the current Dalai Lama’s 14-day escape from Chinese-occupied Tibet in 1959.

Journalist Talty (The Illustrious Dead: The Terrifying Story of How Typhus Killed Napoleon’s Greatest Army, 2009, etc.) uses this remarkable historical event to tell the greater story of Tibet’s transformation from a veiled kingdom to a world cause, and the Dalai Lama’s coming of age from a teenage king and living god to an international spiritual leader. The author effectively gives the reader an introductory lesson in Tibetan history and a sense of the Tibetan people while maintaining the pace of an adventure tale. The Dalai Lama is always at the center of the story, even in passages told from other points of view, including Tibetan Khampa soldiers and CIA agents. After being discovered as the next Dalai Lama at age two, then struggling with the loneliness and formality of palace life, he ascended the throne early, at 15, upon Mao’s invasion. The Tibetan people endured Chinese occupation and escalating brutality for nine more years before a true rebellion emerged in response to a rumor that the Dalai Lama’s life was threatened. As his peace-loving people tried to hold off the ensuing Chinese attacks on the palace, the Dalai Lama was forced to flee with plans to establish a provisional government outside the capital. But after days of sandstorms, blinding sun, avalanche blizzards, dysentery and threats of leopard attacks in the 19,000-foot passes of the Himalayas, the Dalai Lama and his group learned that the Chinese were on their trail. The chase was followed by President Eisenhower, protesters worldwide and a colorful cadre of journalists who introduced Tibet to the world, “becoming famous just as it ceased to exist.” The Dalai Lama was granted asylum in India, where the he still resides, mournful for Tibet but now able to spread his culture’s peace and compassion in ways previously unimaginable.

A great read for Tibetophiles old and new.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-46095-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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