A History of Modern Tibet, 1913-1951: The Demise of the Lamaist State
The "Tibetan Question," the nature of Tibet's political status vis-à-vis China, has been the subject of often bitterly competing views while the facts of the issue have not been fully accessible to interested observers. While one faction has argued that Tibet was, in the main, historically independent until it was conquered by the Chinese Communists in 1951 and incorporated into the new Chinese state, the other faction views Tibet as a traditional part of China that split away at the instigation of the British after the fall of the Manchu Dynasty and was later dutifully reunited with "New China" in 1951. In contrast, this comprehensive study of modern Tibetan history presents a detailed, non-partisan account of the demise of the Lamaist state. Drawing on a wealth of British, American, and Indian diplomatic records; first-hand-historical accounts written by Tibetan participants; and extensive interviews with former Tibetan officials, monastic leaders, soldiers, and traders, Goldstein meticulously examines what happened and why. He balances the traditional focus on international relations with an innovative emphasis on the intricate web of internal affairs and events that produced the fall of Tibet. Scholars and students of Asian history will find this work an invaluable resource and interested readers will appreciate the clear explanation of highly polemicized, and often confusing, historical events.
Romantic visions of Shangri-La are shattered by this book.
By firstname.lastname@example.org - June 30, 1998
If you ever cherished the illusion that Tibet was populated only by saints and holy men of impeccable judgement, the stories recounted in this history will demolish any such belief. Instead, you will develop a realistic appreciation for the achievements and handicaps of the Tibetan system in the first half of this century. This book will enable you to understand why Tibet could not remain independent from China. This is a troubling, fascinating book, full of invaluable historical detail which can be found nowhere else. It is only for those who like their truths unvarnished. Those with a genuine love of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism will develop a maturer love of this extraordinary culture, and those whose notions of the country are based on legends of Shangri-La and Madame Blavatsky's "Great White Brotherhood" will never see Tibet the same way again.
A must read history of Tibet
By Steve - July 17, 2000
This book is a definitive history of Tibet covering a crucial period. Goldstein writes an extremely readable book. He covers a large time period using primary sources and interviews with the characters involved. He limits his analysis of the events and lets the readers examine the evidence. He gives evidence of the Tibetan government's faults as well as the abandonment of Tibet by the international community. This book is a must read for anyone trying to understand the current efforts of the Tibetan government in exile. `Orphans of the Cold War: America and the Tibetan Struggle for Survival' by John Kenneth Knaus is also an excellent book that covers the US government's involvement with Tibet and gives extra insight to the information given by Goldstein.
By Italo Vecchi - December 31, 2007
This is, by any standard, a great book. Its level of erudition, rigour and insight are unmatched by anything else on offer about modern Tibetan history. It is an herculean opus, both in scope and in depth. Moreover, the astonishing fact that is also highly readable recommends it even to the reader with a casual interest in Tibet. Its only arguable drawback is, paradoxically, that such a towering achievement is bound to virtually determine the reader's perspective on the topic. In order to get additional and possibly alternative insights, you will have to wade through books, however worthy, whose scholarship doesn't remotely match Goldstein's.
The Oxford History of the United States is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. The series includes three Pulitzer Prize winners, two New York Times bestsellers, and winners ...